DMA's Johnson sees some variation in how the economy is affecting direct marketing departments and agencies. The association has seen weakening in employment trends over the past three quarters among suppliers such as channel providers, print and letter shops, e-mail service providers and search companies.
However, Johnson hasn't seen comparable staff reductions or hiring freezes among in-house marketing departments or agencies.
“We're still seeing a lot of growth in targeted online advertising and search,” Johnson said. “Catalogs also are holding up surprisingly well, at least in terms of aggregate sales.”
Johnson added that slumping demand is depressing service providers' prices, “indicating that marketers are basically telling suppliers they can't meet price increases.” M