No Matter How You Measure It, Direct Mail Still Rules

Let’s discuss the findings of the Direct Marketing Association’s 2013 Statistical Fact Book. Despite new postal regulations, significant postage price hikes and the growth of digital as a marketing medium, direct mail remains the undisputed king of direct response.

No matter how you measure it, Direct Mail still rules:

CPL.Cost per lead for direct mail ($54.10) is still lower than email ($55.24), and more than half that of online display advertising ($138). For house files, direct mail CPL is even lower ($19.35).

Response Rate. According to a 2013 DMA study, direct mail delivers an average response rate of 1.28% (3.40% for house files), compared to email’s average of 0.03% (0.12%. for house files). Direct mail letters get an average response rate of 1.44% (3.40% for house files), while oversized mailers achieve a response rate of 1.44% (3.95% for house files). Email response rates, on the other hand, average a paltry 0.03% (0.12% for house files). Online display advertising receives a 0.04% response rate.

Purchase Preference. A 2012 channel preference survey conducted by ExactTarget asked consumers if they’d ever made a purchase as a result of a marketing message they’d received. Surprisingly, direct mail outperformed digital channels among 15-17 year olds. Among 18-34 year olds, direct mail outperformed all digital media except email. And among consumers 35+, direct mail was the top marketing channel.

ROI. According to the DMA, the average Return on Investment for direct mail is a little over $12 for every $1 invested (Lifetime Value). That’s an ROI of over 1200%.

And yet, businesses surveyed have made websites, email, social media, SEO, paid search, mobile and online display a bigger priority than direct mail.

But if companies don’t get it, consumers do. A 2012 study by the USPS revealed that 60% of consumers would prefer to get offers by mail than any other form of advertising. And in the era of 1:1 marketing, a Compu-Mail study revealed that 70% of Americans believe postal mail is more personal than digital.
To be clear, digital is a valuable and game-changing marketing tool – one that must be part of any effective marketing mix. But direct mail still rules the direct response jungle.

Direct Mail is Alive & Well

  • 60% of consumers prefer to get offers by mail
  • 70% of Americans believe postal mail is more personal than digital
  • 1.44% The average response rate of a direct mail letter
  • 0.03% The average response rate for emails
  • $54.10 The average cost per lead for direct mail
  • $55.24 The average cost per lead for email
  • 12-to-1 The average ROI for direct mail is $12 for every $1 invested (lifetime value). That’s a 1200% ROI!

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