Marketers Seeing Dramatically Higher Response Rates from Direct Mail

Here are some pretty concise and compelling statistics from the Direct Marketing Association.  This spells good news for direct mail marketers.

  • In 2013, direct mail spending in U.S. reached $44 billion, while teleservices topped $41 billion. Digital media spend (search, display, other) came in at $44.2 billion (Winterberry Group, 2013). Talk about a direct marketing triumvirate!
  • While today might not be the “Golden Era of response rates,” some marketers—such as retailers—are seeing dramatically higher response to their direct mail than in the 1980s (USPS Household Diary Study, 2013).
  • Also according to the USPS Household Diary Study, those earning $65K per year or more evaluate their mail “useful,” “will read” or “will respond”—up virtually across the board when compared to 1987.
  • According to DMA’s own research, cost-per-order and cost-per-lead costs for direct mail are in line with print and pay-per-click, not all that more than email, and significantly less than telemarketing. I’ve always maintained that those few pieces of direct mail are marketing gold when compared to the 5,000 ad messages we’re exposed to each and every day.
  • Who’s your best customer, USPS? According to the USPS Revenue, Pieces and Weight by Class of Mail and Special Services, direct mail accounted for 39.9 percent of total mail volume in 1990—and topped a record 56.2 percent in 2013.
  • Catalog mail volume actually increased in 2013 to reach 11.9 billion—the first recorded increase since 2006.
  • Yet there’s less overall competition to worry about in the mailbox: Households received an average 8.9 pieces of Standard Mail per week in 2012—down from 13.8 pieces in 2008. That seems like an opportunity for any brand that wants to have a high-touch engagement.

Source: 2014 DMA Statistical Fact Book

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  1. Clem
    September 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve been reading a lot of current articles about the success of direct mail marketing. Thanks for sharing your insight!

  2. Derek Ivy
    October 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m seeing more articles in the last few months supporting a steady increase in direct mail marketing, as opposed to the months and years prior. I hope this is a good indication as to the future of direct mail marketing. Glad it’s hanging in the ad game!