Direct Mail to Deliver Returns for Marketers

by | 2 minute read

This year, over half of advertising will be in the form of direct marketing. As ad costs rise, marketers want to know how effective their efforts have been. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has just released the results of a study that can help businesses understand which direct marketing methods are connecting with target audiences.

The bad news about the DMA’s Response Rate campaign is about direct mail. In the past 9 years, the response rate has dropped 25%. The better news for direct mail providers is that this channel still outperforms many digital direct marketing efforts. Here’s a look at the response rates based on ‘house’ lists:

  •  Direct mail: 3.4%
  • Oversized direct mail: 3.95%
  • Postcard direct mail: 2.47%
  • Catalog: 4.26%
  • Email: 0.33% (mean conversion rate)
  • Telephone: 12.95%
  • Display ads: 0.04% (CTR)
  • Paid search: 0.22% (CTR)

Of course, response rates do not equate to ROI. Some types of direct marketing campaigns are more expensive than others. For example, it costs marketers about $78 per order to conduct telephone campaigns to an in-house list.  However traditional direct marketing campaign strategies such as direct mail, at $51.40 for cost per order, is nearly equivalent to digital strategies such as paid search, at $55.24 per order.

Email campaigns cost much less. When combined with its effectiveness, email has the best ROI at 28.5. While consumers might be tiring of the endless pitches they receive in the mailbox, direct mail is still an effective promotional tool and it can be designed in unique and eye-catching ways. For many marketers, traditional direct mail is hard to beat and it delivers $7 for every dollar spent.

[Source: DMA Releases 2012 Response Rate Report. Newdma​.org. 14 Jun. 2012. Web. 28 Jun. 2012]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.