The increase bucks the trend nationally as indicated by the IPA Bellwether report, published last week. That stated that most companies in the UK are slashing direct marketing budgets, but the COI's contrary position will be received as positive news.
Its spend on direct and relationship marketing has been surpassed by digital and is now the COI's second-biggest marketing channel. It increased its spend on digital work from £22.4m in 2006-07 to £35.3m in 2007-08.
Broadcast accounted for £17.6m of its spend, up from £13.7m a year earlier, while PR and sponsorship investment also rose. The report shows an advertising media spend of £156.9m, up 15.4% on the previous year.
The direct marketing industry has also received a boost to its confidence from trade body the DMA, whose 'Economic Impact Analysis', unveiled last week, stated that spend on direct marketing had increased by 9.8% year on year.
This appears to contradict the IPA's Bellwether report, which claimed that budgets for the medium were 'revised down to the greatest extent in the survey's history'.
However, the Bellwether is a quarterly indication of marketing spend and the downward spiral may simply be an indication that the effects of economic uncertainty have only recently had an effect on the direct marketing sector.