A standard meme in banking and other corporate IT circles has been rise of online and targeted marketing of customers. Gartner this year predicted the launch of a five-year, tenfold increase in online marketing technology spending, focusing on new ways of campaign and brand management to a Web 2.0 world. Financial services research outfit Synergistics recently tracked how one-tenth of Internet households made a “serious” financial decision based on a Web ad or social media source.

But none of this apparently means that direct mail, with its piddly 2 percent response rate, is dying. Despite tighter budgets, banks reported a 42 percent increase in their direct mail offers in the third quarter from the second quarter of 2008, according to a new survey from media tracking and analysis from Mintel Comperemedia. Mintel estimates there were 53 million offers mailed out to customers in the third quarter, to nearly double the output from a year ago at this time (29 million).

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