GAITHERSBURG, MD – A recent survey was conducted on service providers for the direct mail industry by MCS, a technology provider for the production mailing market and which is located in Gaithersburg, MD.

The marketing study, entitled, “MCS 2012 Direct Mail Survey,” was conducted as a follow-up to its 2007 survey which addressed similar topics and concerns.

This recent marketing study reveals the changes in direction that the direct mail industry has taken in the past few years since the last survey was undertaken.

MCS has a broad customer base and periodically conducts informal surveys and customer polls in order to provide direction for new products and services.

The survey addresses concerns and opportunities in the direct mail industry and touches on topics such as profitability for various mail departments as well as the mood of the industry.

The survey was conducted on 5,000 direct mail service providers in February, 2012. Results were compiled from over 200 respondents.

The direct mail industry has been concerned over potential changes at the U.S. Postal Service recently while at the same time has been recovering from a few rough years of lower mail volume due to the slow economy.

Key Findings

Although the survey was conducted on direct mail providers, mailing list managers should be aware of the trends and results. Among the key findings of the report are:

  • Providers are most concerned with declining margins and revenues. This was the number one concern for respondents as it also was in 2007.
  • Changes in the United States Postal Service are also a concern, although not to the same degree as declining margins and revenues.
  • The cost of labor is no longer the biggest concern as it was in 2007, presumably because of easier access to labor and higher unemployment.

The report also identified the most profitable and least profitable areas for direct mail providers as well as the most profitable opportunities for the next two years.

Digital Color Printing Identified as Top Opportunity for Profit

Digital Color Printing is seen by 40% of respondents as the top opportunity for profit for 2012-2014, while 36% believe that Cross-Media Services will be the most profitable. Matching Systems came in third with 24% of respondents believing that it has the opportunity for the most profit.

These results are an indicator that the industry is moving beyond traditional direct mail and more towards new services such as digital offerings and one-to-one media.

Most Profitable and Least Profitable Areas

Right now, direct mail providers identified the following areas as being the most profitable for their businesses:

  • Inkjet Addressing – 45%
  • Color Digital Printing – 39%
  • Mailing List / Data Processing – 36%

Respondents identified the least profitable areas to be inserting (39%), bindery (30%) and
matched mailings (21%).

The report has been made available as a free public download from the MCS website.

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