Although the numbers are not out yet, the consensus between JFM and our widespread customer base is that marketing dollars are flowing again. Both in North America and abroad, inquiries to direct marketers for many types of cross media marketing programs are on the rise. In our mind, there are three reasons for the sudden increase.
1. Executive teams that have been hording cash in the face of the liquidity crisis have begun to loosen the purse strings. Although we are by no means out of the woods and liquidity remains a major issue for many businesses, sitting tight, especially in the face of competitor activity, is not a viable long term strategy. Considering that the meaning of “long term” is now often measured in a few quarters rather than years, the shift is almost inevitable.
2. Sales pipelines have emptied and new leads are required to keep sales coming in the door. The decrease in traffic to web sites, call centers, and brick & mortar locations needs both direct marketing and advertising to overcome the drop.
3. Even though overall marketing budgets may have decreased dramatically, the cash earmarked for cross media applications has stayed constant or grown as an absolute figure. As executives loosen the purse strings these programs have received a disproportionately large share of the available funds.
Marketing service providers that incorporate multiple cross media channels in their product mix, including email, PURLs, variable data print, dimensional mail, and more have seen a large increase in both inquiries and sales. It is not too late to enter into these markets by partnering with a firm capable of providing more than just the back end technology for cross media, but also the marketing expertise to make campaigns successful.