Mark Dolliver’s Takes

Don’t toss out your postage meter quite yet. While some people might think online marketing has replaced the direct-mail variety, that doesn’t capture the complex relationship between the two media. No doubt some Web advertising has replaced some direct mail. But a look at the chart here, which excerpts a Vertis Communications survey, indicates the degree to which direct mail now prompts consumers to move along to the advertiser’s Web site. It does look as if 800 phone numbers are becoming less significant, though, as a channel by which consumers respond to direct-mail ads. When it comes to buying stuff, the survey found consumers increasingly willing to use their credit cards to do the deal online. In a 2003 Vertis poll, 32 percent of respondents said they were “very comfortable” or “somewhat comfortable” about providing a credit-card number to make a purchase or open an account over the Internet, while 52 percent were “not comfortable at all.” In the new poll, the very/somewhat tally had risen to 42 percent, while the not-at-all vote had fallen to 40 percent.