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Direct Mail Continues to be a go-to Strategy for Direct Marketers

According to The Direct Marketing Association’s 2010 Response Rate Report, and as reported by Marketing Powers Activate, “direct mail and email remain the most commonly used media by direct marketers, with more than half using each.”

According to the 2010 report, which analyzes and presents 2009 data and findings:

  • Direct marketing accounted for 54.3% of all ad expenditures with marketers spending $149.3 billion on this channel.
  • The response rate for a letter-sized direct mail piece was 3.42% for a house list and 1.38% for a prospect list. This compares with 2005 response rates of 3.33% and 1.71%, respectively.
  • Marketers found that catalogs continued to be “an effective way for retailers to reach existing customers.” Response rates for catalogs sent to a house list went up in 2009 to 4.92% from 3.56% in 2005. For catalogs sent to a prospect list, the response rate was 0.84% compared with 1.74% in 2005.
  • While telephone marketing had the highest response rate of any direct marketing mechanism, it also had the highest costs associated with it. Catalogs, on the other hand, had the lowest average cost per order/lead, which was $47.61. The cost per order/lead was $47.69 for inserts, $53.69 for e-mail and $75.32 for postcards.
  • Of the specific industries reviewed in the report, the publishing, media and entertainment and retail segments had the highest volumes of direct mail use; financial services and nonprofit respondents strongly preferred direct mail over other media.

“One reason why direct mail continues to be a go-to strategy for direct marketers is that improvements in printing and database technology as well as analytics have allowed direct mail and other offline media to deliver consistent response rates.”

Reprinted with permission from Print in the Mix – A Clearinghouse of Research on Print Media Effectiveness

About: The DMA’s Response Rate Report is based on a survey of marketers and marketing services suppliers that had 473 respondents. The report covers direct mail, email, paid search, Internet display ads, telephone marketing, mobile display and SMS ads and DRTV. It also contains additional data on Mobile (SMS and Display); DRTV; DR Radio; Magazine and Newspaper Space Advertising; Inserts; Fax; and Digital Out-of-Home.

Sources: Marketing Powers Activate – “Direct Mail Use Strong Among DMers, Says DMA Report”, June 16, 2010.
DMA – “DMA Releases 2010 Response Rate Trend Report”, June 15, 2010.