Direct mail generated $131.2 billion in direct-order sales to consumers and businesses in 1995, according to the "Economic Impact: U.S. Direct Marketing Today" report from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
When you think of direct mail, you may think just of the stuff that lands in your mailbox--each day's smorgasbord of catalogs and offers from retailers, bankers, insurers and charities, all wrapped, folded, stapled or stuffed into official-looking envelopes and, sometimes, even sealed in plastic bags. According to the U.S. Postal Service's most recent Household Diary Survey, the average American household receives more than seven catalogs each month. The DMA in New York City extrapolated Postal Service volume data and determined that last year, 13.2 billion catalogs were mailed out, including both consumer and business-to-business mailings.
Catalogs are a big part of direct mail, surely, but there are other opportunities for entrepreneurs who are interested in being a part of the overall mail industry. Following is advice from four entrepreneurs who have been on all sides of the mailing business.