Christopher Hinton has a piece on Marketwatch (see "Junk mail spurs growth for top printer makers") that highlights positive developments in the Direct Marketing field that mean good news for printer companies like Xerox (NYSE XRX), Kodak (NYSE EK), HP (NYSE HPQ), and Ocè (NL:35493). The surge in direct mail advertising (annual rate of 6% in the US) is spurred by growing capabilities in personalization (and its resultant increase in advertising response rates), as well as the declining effectiveness (e.g. TV advertising) or legal restrictions (e.g. telemarketing) of alternative ad media forms.
Not all bodes well for the future of junk mail, however. An example of forces aligned against direct marketing mailings comes from right here in my home state. Last month, The University of Idaho announced that in a move to save cost, energy, and landfill space, their faculty, staff and students won't receive bulk mail through the university system, as of January 1, 2008 (see "University of Idaho vows to quit delivering junk mail"). Instead, the material will be bulk recycled!