The companies polled by WEFA are mistaken if they expect advertising expenditure growth rates to decline, said Bill Babcock, managing director of Babcock & Jenkins Direct, a Beaverton, Ore.-based marketing consulting company. The companies polled likely underestimated the money that will be needed to devise viable Internet strategies, he said.
"Companies that are thinking that the Net will be inexpensive have not added up the costs," Mr. Babcock said. "If you're going to build [a direct marketing campaign] with real customizations, it's a lot of work, a lot of money."
The companies polled by WEFA also likely believe that Internet direct marketing will replace off-line advertising, a scenario that is unlikely, Mr. Babcock said. "Some [b-to-b clients] are telling us that they want to do everything on the Net--no print," he said. "But that's a field of dreams."
Mr. Babcock said that when a new ad medium surfaces, it usually doesn't replace an older one. For example, the advent of TV advertising did not supplant radio advertising, but rather forced radio to become a more efficient medium, he said.
WEFA polled more than 4,000 DMA member companies for "Economic Impact: U.S. direct marketing today." The study was the fifth of its type sponsored by the DMA and conducted by WEFA.