Direct Marketers on the Web

A survey of more than 500 members of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that 95 percent of the respondents use the Internet for sales and marketing applications, up from 83 percent one year ago.

The DMA is a trade association of businesses that advertise their products and services directly to consumers by mail, telephone, magazine, the Internet, radio, and television.

More than half (52 percent) of the companies surveyed by DMA make use of online services, up from 43 percent in 1998; and 51 percent use electronic data interchange (EDI), up from 45 percent in 1998. Thirty-nine percent are using e-commerce technology in marketing their products and services.

The DMA reports there has been a steady increase in the percentage of direct marketers having Web sites, with 90 percent reporting a Web presence this year, up from 82 percent in 1997. Most companies use their sites for marketing/information (88 percent) or lead generation (60 percent, see table). Two-thirds of the direct marketing companies surveyed said their Web site is targeted toward other businesses, and 44 percent said they target consumers.

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Forty-three percent of the respondents told the DMA that electronic transactions are conducted at their Web sites. Nearly half of this group say they are making a profit from online transactions.

More than half (51 percent) of the companies surveyed reported domestic transactions only, with 46 percent indicating both domestic and international customers. A median of 5 percent of electronic consumer transactions and 10 percent of business-to-business transactions are from international customers. The top international markets cited by the respondents were Canada, the UK, Europe, and Japan.

One-third of the respondents advertise on other sites with banner ads. Two-thirds pay for the ads, up from 61 percent in 1998 and 47 percent in 1997. Fifteen percent of the direct marketing companies surveyed accept banner ads on their site, with 74 percent being compensated for them.

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