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Direct Mail Still Tops in Pulling Response: DMA

Direct mail remained the strongest medium for circulators last year, producing response rates of around 3% and solid returns on investment, according to a report from the Direct Marketing Association.

Magazines and newsletters pulled an average 3.03% response from their house files with mailings to solicit a direct order, and 2.59% from prospect lists, the DMA reported. House mailings scored an ROI index of 5.7, compared with 6.2 for prospect mailings.

E-mail also did well, pulling an average 1.36 response rate for the six publishers that used it. Their ROI index was 4.0. But telemarketing generated a .09 ROI index for the two firms that made calls.

Of the 35 respondents that reported doing direct mail, 28 conducted house mailings and 29 did prospect mailings.

The house mailers averaged $2.17 in revenue per contact, with a cost of .38 cents per contact. The average revenue per order was $141.96, with a total cost per order of $43.67.

Prospect mailings generated $2.91 in revenue per contact and $135 in revenue per order. The cost per order was $71.17 and the promo cost per contact .47 cents.

Dimensional mail pulled an average 1.6% response rate to house files, and an ROI index of 4.

Only one respondent reported doing mailings to generate leads. That mailer generated a 3.39% response to outside lists, with revenue of over $1,000 per order and a cost per lead of $23.50. The ROi index was 7.2.

The DMA conducted the survey with research firm IntelliSurvey. It received over 1,500 responses from companies in 23 industries.

Direct mail was also the top medium for the general publishing category, which includes book, music/video and newspaper publishers. It was used last year by 66.7% of the respondents, compared with 31.5% for e-mail, 17.6% for telephone marketing and 12% for magazine advertising.

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