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The Winterberry Group’s Annual Report is Out!


Reflecting on 2019 Trends

Anyone in the marketing and advertising industries seeking to be in-the-know for 2020 should get their hands on this report, STAT. The Winterberry Group, led by Senior Managing Partner Bruce Biegel and team for eleven years now, puts out an annual report, titled “The Outlook for Data Driven Advertising & Marketing.

The report is released at Direct Marketing Club of New York’s (DMCNY) Industry Forecast luncheon each year. It provides an in-depth analysis and summary of the latest trends in advertising and marketing spending for the coming year in the U.S. Director & CEO of Polaris Direct, Judith Maloy, attended the event again this year, which took place on January 16th, 2020.

We’ve taken some key points from the event and the report, and highlighted them here, just for you!

Reflecting on 2019 U.S. Offline vs. Online Media Spending

Key insights presented for 2019 included themes of control and privacy concerns, alongside reports of a stable economy, resulting in an extremely low unemployment rate, increased consumer spending, and a historic year for the stock market. Overall, it was a great year for marketing and advertising growth, though it varied by channel. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

2019 U.S. Offline Media Spending

According to the report, in 2019, Direct Mail spending reached $41.2 billion, with a 3.4% decline. Of all the offline media categories, direct mail declined the least. The report also indicated that a few categories of offline media increased (Addressable TV, Traditional Outdoor, and Experiential/Sponsorship) while radio saw no change in spending.

2019 U.S. Online Media Spending

The Winterberry Group reported online media spending in the U.S. in 2019 increased in every category, with spending totaling $145.3 billion, for an increase of 19.1%. Increases by category were as follows:

Looking at 2019 U.S. Data and Data Services Spending

The numbers show that data and data services continues to be a growth area for the direct marketing industry with a total 2019 spend of $21.7 billion, yet companies and brands haven’t fully progressed with data centricity due to the complexity of implementation and the strict compliance regulations in the industry.

Research indicates digital media and email data, database, analytics, and hygiene data spending saw steady growth in 2019, while TV data and analytics, along with offline data spend saw declines.

According to the report “69% of data users report that their organizations are taking steps to build and/or implement strategies to govern their use of audience data.”

Data users indicate drivers behind these efforts include:

  • Wanting to deliver a better, more personalized and consistent customer experience
  • Needing to adhere to increased data compliance requirements
  • Choosing to honor consumer preferences, and
  • Responding to demands for better leveraging of 1st and 3rd party data assets

A Glance into 2020 Trends

The report indicates that while digital media spending is growing faster than offline media, it will take a few more years for it to surpass total offline media spending. In 2020, research indicates offline media spending is expected to grow, with estimated U.S. offline media spending totals of $223.1 billion, an increase of 2.3%, while digital channels will also continue to grow moderately, with estimated U.S. online media spending totals of $166.4 billion, an increase of 14.5%. Of the digital channels, social is expected to account for 25% of total spend in 2020.

Stay tuned for additional predictions, and insights on 2020 marketing and advertising trends, coming soon. In the meantime, learn more about Strategic Marketing Services we offer. Contact us to find out how our diverse capabilities can help your business.

*Source: Winterberry Group. (2020). The Outlook for Data Driven Advertising & Marketing 2020. New York, NY: Bruce Biegel.



About the author: Lisa Leslie is a Copywriter for Polaris Direct, a nationally acclaimed high-volume direct marketing services company in Hooksett, NH. A skilled writer and creative thinker, Lisa works to uncover authentic and inspiring brand stories to create content that drives customer engagement. Throughout her professional career, she has filled a variety of roles, ranging from marketing administration and project management to digital marketing consulting and content development. In each role, Lisa has remained committed to helping brands tell their stories in ways that capture audiences and encourage customer loyalty. Her intuitive listening skills, broad experience, and talent for writing make her a unique and valuable asset to the Polaris Direct team.

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