According to the Direct Mail Association (DMA), response rates took quite the jump in 2016 with a 5.3% response rate to house lists and 2.9% to prospect lists. These are the highest levels the DMA has seen since 2003.
…due to the saturation of digital marketing in the age we are living in, direct mail response rates have flourished compared to their online counterparts.
Other digital channels are not even in the same league as direct mail (5.3%) with response rates reported by the DMA as low as:
Paid Search, 0.5%
Social Media, 0.6%
Email Marketing, House List:0.6% and Prospect List: 0.3%
Direct mail also ranks among the top three marketing channels when comparing ROI:
Social Media, 28%
Direct Mail, 27%
Paid Search, 25%
Online Display, 18%
Written by Gavin Hodges is a Marketing Analyst at Target Direct Marketing, leaders in inquiry/lead generation.
In 1982, R.R. Donnelley and Farm Journal pioneered a new dimension of publishing known as Selectronic Binding.
“Farm Journal is perhaps most famous in the magazine industry for our selectronic binding innovation-we know the profiles of our readers from our database and can use that information to produce tailored issues of the magazine that are specific to reader demographics,” says Hillgren. “We were the very first magazine with that capability.”
Selectronic binding also was instrumental in the decision to take livestock-specific sections out of the magazine and create new stand-alone publications, including Dairy Today and Beef Today.
“When Farm Journal was created, farmers were more alike in size and raised a wide variety of crops and livestock. But the thrust of the 20th century was specialization. That’s why selectronic binding became so important,” says Hillgren. “As farmers specialized, we had the capability to target editorial and advertising and eventually provide livestock publications to serve them.”
Since that time, major strides have been made in print technology. But for as much as our family shops at Kohl’s – I have never seen an ounce of personalization in their mailings. Our Lands’End, Chadwicks, Paul Fredrick’s catalogs all have a generalized look. We may be getting targeted versions, but if so, I see no connection with the offerings and what we buy from them.
Further, the web promised us individualized sites matching our tastes. How are we doing? After 20+ years of browsing, I still have to tell Google (almost each and every search) to limit the time frame to 1 year for technology related queries. ESPN gives me a choice of teams I can follow but doesn’t even let me block sports which I don’t like (ie. NBA). PGAtour continues to offer me the scores on Web Tour, LPGA and a host of other things I’d rather never see. I have a personal rule against EVER visiting Amazon except for books. I get re-targeted perpetually for items I accidentally visited – long after I bought them on ebay.
Feel free to write on how you were targeted with an offer – 5 minutes before you realized you needed it – and you immediately bought it without considering the price because the merchant so precisely predicted your needs, desires and/or unknown fantasies. I would love to hear one good story.
The sadest part of my experience is that I know companies are spending millions of dollars each year trying to fill their data lakes with enough to achieve this nirvana predicted 35 years ago. At the same time, I have written and called my phone company a dozen times asking them to offer a 4.5” phone option – I don’t want a pocket wide-screen TV.
Perhaps BIGdata is a cover for – “we know so much about you, we do not have to listen to you at all.” As a BIGdata pioneer and practitioner – quit embarrassing your company and annoying your customers by this guessing. Instead, ship the stuff I order, answer your phone (if you even list a phone number… respond to email and/or twitter, etc.) and LISTEN.
I am not saying you cannot find ‘eureka’ info in BIGdata… but for most companies, with fewer than a dozen analysts – you’ll get there much quicker with list, offer and product testing. Feel free to comment or call.
Introduction to the WDMA – Starts with the greatest case study for Direct Marketing EVER. Some discussion of what Direct Marketing means and why WDMA is your best source for Education, Conversation and Congregation.
David Ogilvy is one of my heros. He explains the power of Direct Marketing. He also encourages general ad agencies to use DM to train their people. Much of what he hoped for has happened – so now everyone measures, everyone generates responses (at least clicks and likes) but much of the art of testing (and so the power) has been forgotten.
The WDMA is committed to showing how Direct Marketing applies to the media and methods of today’s marketers – without leaving the proven fundamental principles of scientific marketing.
“President Barack Obama transformed modern day campaigning by elevating the importance and use of data. Since then campaigns have prioritized it. Hillary Clinton has been building her data operation since she launched her campaign, but Trump has largely dismissed its importance.” NBC News May 31 2016
The golden age of direct marketing has arrived. Nearly all advertising and sales are “interactive” and “measurable”. At the same time, attendance and enthusiasm for local and national direct marketing trade shows is almost dead compared to 20 years ago. (I wrote this article almost 20 years ago, as the Internet gurus claimed everything would change.)
Since 1968 the definition of direct marketing has been examined and refined. Here is a composite definition from 28 text books: “Direct marketing is a database-driven interactive process of directly communicating with targeted customers or prospects using any medium to obtain a measurable response or transaction via one or multiple channels.” (reconciled from 28 published textbook variations, Scovotti & Spiller) Continue reading “So You Think You’re Doing Direct Marketing?”
Several past Presidents of the WDMA board got together for the 30th anniversary meetup. We weren’t exactly sure what happened to the WDMA but around the turn of the millennium, we all started feeling pretty irrelevant. And if Direct Marketing is just about data & measurement, then anyone who can hook up Google Analytics is already doing it. Are we irrelevant?
This week I had a long conversation with someone involved with the original Direct Mail Advertising Association – which became the DMA in 1983 and now has been re-branded as the Data & Marketing Association. I guess its now just about data & marketing… ? Well here, we’re about Direct Marketing, the most powerful force in your advertising and sales arsenal. Continue reading “Welcome to the *NEW* WDMA”