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The Magazine for Magazine Management: Direct-mail economics bad – and getting worse – Folio:Plus

Direct-mail economics bad – and getting worse – Folio:Plus – Brief Article

The economics of direct mail will only get worse from now on out, predicts John Klingell, vp-marketing Time Publishing Ventures Inc. “Direct mail is almost not viable anymore,” he says. In the past, various innovations that increased response helped offset losses, but now, Klingel says, there are few creative breakthroughs left. At the same time, the Postal Service is suffering from volume losses and revenue shortfalls due to greater use of fax and alternate delivery; Klingel adds that planned “debit billing” cards would also eliminate billing and payment by mail and further undermine postal revenue. Klingel suggests circulators should make more use of some old sources-like newspaper inserts, “flag wavers” (a four-page coupon device where each advertiser gets a page, called a “flag waver” because the coupons stick out the side), cooperative mailings, and space trades. In conclusion, aKlingel says, “Don’t walk into any business that involves direct mail and think it will be easy.”

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