THE DMA 1997 CENSUS of the Direct Marketing Industry shows annual expenditure hitting a new record of £6.1bn - an aggregated year-on-year growth of 10%. Direct mail still leads the pack in absolute terms with an annual spend of £1489m, but telemarketing is coming up fast on the rails with £1305m. Mail's increased revenue, 31%, was achieved despite the adverse effects of last summer's postal strikes. However, the two fastest growing sectors are direct response radio (113% up on last year) and DRTV (38%), while 62% of press ads are now direct-oriented and a further 26% carry a response mechanism. Eleven per cent also feature a Web site address.

DMA chief executive Colin Lloyd attributes the growth in direct expenditure to escalating demand by marketing directors for measured accountability: '[This] is a reflection of the increased sophistication and effectiveness of direct marketing. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the growth of each new medium, from DRTV to the Internet, actually increases the volumes for existing media, and the end result is increased choice both for advertisers and consumers. The willingness of consumers to deal with companies directly is a reflection of changing social attitudes and lifestyles. The challenge for the industry is to train sufficient new staff to maintain standards and meet the increased demand.'