A key report by industry body, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), predicts that spending on electronic and digital methods of reaching consumers will increase significantly this year, while spending on more traditional ‘paper’ strategies will increase at a much lower rate.

According to the report, which defines direct marketing as the one-to-one targeting of individual consumers, overall spending in this area is expected this year to increase by seven per cent over and above the £14.2bn invested in 2011.

It is however, the report says, likely to be digital media which will benefit from the lion’s share of this growth.

Email marketing, the report claims, will see an 11.9 per cent rise in expenditure, ending 2012 on a total spend level of £2.54bn.

Targeting individual consumers via their web search activities – by, for example, deploying search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques – is also predicted by the report to show strong growth in 2012. The DMA says that a total of £2.3bn is forecast to be spent on targeting consumers in this way in 2012 – an increase of 8.1 per cent on the previous year.

This expected strong growth in digital marketing spending is in contrast to the more modest figures predicted by the DMA for spending on more traditional direct marketing campaigns such as door drops and mail shots.

According to the DMA, spending on such ‘paper’ campaigns this year is likely to show an increase of only 2.07 per cent.

Elsewhere in the report, the DMA claims that 23 per cent of total sales in 2011 were down to the effectiveness of direct marketing campaigns.