The recession is only one factor to hit publishing with an uppercut to the chin. Add the gradual exodus of readers from newspapers and magazines to the more current (and for now) free internet. The brutal tug of war for diminishing advertising dollars. The lack of a sustainable profit model. Rising postal costs. The greening of America. And, well … so much more!
This litany of changes certainly has had a profound effect on direct mail: Fewer packages mailed. Tweaks on existing packages instead of new creative. The all-too-often reverent nod to the low-cost, high-return voucher.
Just ask any fulfillment house, direct marketing consultant, marketer, list broker or creative about the direct hit to his or her bottom line. On second thought, maybe not.
So what are copywriters, designers, printers and direct mail marketers doing to accommodate publishing’s cosmic shift? Where are they now? How are they making a living? The answer is: all over the board. Here’s a quick look …
Designer Theo Pappas had a novel approach that included sleeping late and buying lottery tickets. According to him, “If I kept that up much longer, I’d forget how to use my software, and if a job came in, I’d have to farm it out. Not a good solution for affording necessities and cat food.
“On the advice of a go-getter colleague, I joined a professional organization, though I have yet to attend a breakfast meeting or anything else. (But I will; I will.) I’ve sent out emails to clients showing HTML renewals and online promotions, and I’ve gotten some work.