Not Using Direct Mail? Are You Missing Out?

If direct mail didn’t work, marketing budgets for mailing projects would disappear. That isn’t happening. According to Target Marketing magazine’s last two annual surveys, marketers continue to show confidence in direct mail as a practical marketing channel.

A year ago, 69% of survey respondents said they would spend as much or more on direct mail in 2016 compared to the previous year. In the latest survey, the trend continues. 64% of marketers predicted stable or increased direct mail investments in 2017.

Most marketers consider direct mail an important part of their marketing strategies. 72% of the survey group is using direct mail. In contrast, fewer marketers reported they invested in mobile ads, webinars, telemarketing, insert media, newspapers, or magazines.

Print: The Second Most Popular Category

Online continues to be the category that receives the greatest portion of marketing budgets. Print, which includes direct mail, is second, despite a 7% drop from last year.  Marketers are still spending 22% of their budgets on print, although investments in newspaper and magazine placement, and insert media appear to be declining. The survey listed direct mail as a strong deliverer of ROI for both customer acquisition and retention. Only email ranked higher.

Direct mail has superior deliverability attributes over email or online advertising. Marketers who practice good address hygiene and intelligent selection criteria for their mailing lists are likely to have their messages delivered.

There are no spam filters or ad blockers preventing direct mail marketing messages from reaching intended recipients. Abandoned mailboxes are less of a problem because the USPS can forward mail to a new address. Informed Delivery from the USPS, now rolling out nationwide, even provides an added impression at no extra charge. Direct mail is particularly useful for customer acquisition and can be ideal for directing prospects and customers to online content.

Big Response Rate Winner

When considering response rates, direct mail is the clear winner. Nothing else comes close. The Data and Marketing Association’s (DMA’s) latest Response Rate Report measures the rate for direct mail at 5.3% for house lists and 2.9% for prospect lists. These rates have climbed from last year’s report, probably due to marketers improving their data use practices. Response rates for online display, email, social media, and paid search were all less than 1%.

Marketers are smart people. If they were not experiencing positive returns on sales letters, catalogs, postcards, and other mailed materials they would allocate their budgets to other marketing channels. If you want to find out how a well-designed and executed direct mail campaign can impact your organization’s marketing strategies, contact us today.


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