New data from the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia have smoothed out measurement anomalies in corporate direct marketing expenditure, bringing the country into line with international practice.

The information research company has come under fire both from the marketing community and industry observers, who maintain the methods used by CEASA to measure telemarketing budgets has inflated estimates of direct marketing spend.

Finally sitting up and taking notice, CEASA's revised figures for the past six years indeed show a dramatic difference. The researcher had earlier reported that direct marketing expenditure grew by 2.4% during the advertising nosedive of 2001. But the revised measurement methodology now reveals this to be a decline of 0.55%.

The amended figures also show spending on direct marketing dropped from $17.4 billion (€14.3bn; £9.5bn) in 2002 to $9.4bn last year, reducing its lead over traditional media advertising from $8bn to $100 million.

Direct marketing expenditure last year was just overtaken by spending on additional marketing activities such as product sampling, promotions and loyalty programs – CEASA values this at $10.6bn.

Data sourced from: Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff