How’re You Doing? The DMA’s Q1 2013 Business Review

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performance meterLast week, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) released its Quarterly Business Review (QBR) for the Q1 2013. The news is good. The last months of 2012 were overcast with economic uncertainty (fiscal cliffs, et alia) but first-quarter performance indicators point to strong growth prospects ahead.

The report, available on the DMA’s website, spotlights these issues:

Your peers have a growing interest in data, and are increasing spending to leverage it

Marketers are keenly interested in using data to understand and engage consumers in ways that have meaning for the buyer, and they appreciate the growing availability of technology to help. If you’re thinking of adding staff to get this done, you’ve got plenty of company; the DMA is seeing the first increase in the growth of staffing in several years,

Findings include:

  • A plurality of respondents to the QBR survey indicated that their organization’s Q1 DDM spending was either equal to (41.9 percent) or greater than (38.7 percent) their spending in Q4 of 2012. On an index basis, it also appears that the rate of spending growth is accelerating; the pace of Q1 DDM spending growth surpassed that of the previous two quarters (3.19 in Q1 2013 versus 3.10 in Q4 and 3.16 in Q3 [on a scale of 1–5]) and is consistent with the rate of spending growth seen in the first quarter of 2012 (3.20).
  • Following a sustained period where DDM practitioners opted to “do more with less”—meeting increased demand for DDM services and solutions with existing staff and resources—the DDM community’s staffing growth rate is accelerating for the first time since Q4 of 2010, indexing at 3.16 in Q1, up from 3.01 last quarter.

Revenues from direct marketing are up

  • Almost half of DDM practitioners surveyed reported their DDM-related revenue increased in Q1 (45.9 percent) while 39.4 percent indicated revenue remained flat to the previous quarter.
  • Looking to next quarter, DDM practitioners expect their related revenue to increase further; 52.9 percent say revenue should grow in Q2 while 36.5 percent predict revenue will remain steady.

Digital continues to gain ground

  • Email and social media remain two of the strongest channels for increased investment while established channels (including direct mail, direct response broadcast, place-based media and teleservices) are losing share to digital media.

DMA’s Quarterly Business Review (QBR) for the first quarter of 2013 is published by the Direct Marketing Association, with research and analysis provided by Winterberry Group. You can get the full report from DMA’s Bookstore.

So, how about you? Are you experiencing the shift toward digital and data? Is data helping you find new (or improved) ways to engage with buyers?