Since the start of the new millennium, direct mail volumes in the UK increased year on year until 2003, but have been in steady – some might say dramatic – decline ever since. Whilst a low of 4.65 billion direct mail items in 2007 is not to be sniffed at, it is nevertheless a drop of some 14% from 2003’s high of 5.43 billion items.
Direct mail volumes
4.65 billion items
5.02 billion items
5.13 billion items
5.41 billion items
5.43 billion items
5.23 billion items
4.93 billion items
Source: Royal Mail
By contrast, the growth of digital marketing has been well documented, both in terms of volume and of increased design/technical capabilities. Of course, with digital marketing seemingly taking precedence over more traditional forms of direct mail, it does potentially leave a gap in the market for really eye-catching and attention-grabbing direct mail pieces. Nevertheless, the marketing agencies that are currently thriving are those that have embraced the concept of digital marketing with both hands.
Unsurprisingly, this digital growth has touched other areas of marketing, and we in the market research industry have witnessed a huge increase in online market research applications.
First of all, quantitative desk research has been transformed over the past decade or so. Visits to the library and the purchase of huge directories, which are out of date before they have even been opened, are almost things of the past since so much – and such up to date – information is available online, if you know where to look.
Then we have online focus groups, which are an innovative, cost-effective and increasingly popular way of carrying out qualitative research into the opinions of small groups of respondents. More information on this technique is available in our white paper, Using Online Focus Groups.
Web surveys have become the preferred method of data collection for many of our larger-scale customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction surveys, since they have the potential to offer significant cost and time savings, as well as increased data accuracy.
The advancement of technology and constant evolution of digital techniques in so many aspects of our business life need not signal the end to traditional ways of working, but there’s no doubt that new and exciting opportunities are presenting themselves all the time.