SCHAUMBURG, IL – The marketing services division of the global information services company, Experian, has published a direct mail white paper showing that direct mail continues to be an effective way to reach new customers or reactivate old ones.

The marketing report, entitled “The Direct Marketing Report 2010″, is available from the Experian website as a free download in PDF format.

The report is filled with facts and figures to support its conclusions that there are current marketing trends towards an increase in the use of direct mail in mailing list campaigns.

As mentioned before in previous posts in this blog, direct mail is shown to be most effective when used in a coordinated cross-channel or multi-channel marketing campaign. Mailing list managers who are savvy have figured out that mail order catalogs and traditional mailing pieces are still very effective. Despite a slow economy for business, using direct mail in combination with electronic media and social networking will be more effective than online marketing alone or direct mail alone.

Internet Marketing Augmented by Catalog Mailings

The report points out these facts:

  • The number of catalog orders placed online has increased from 50% in 2006 to 61% in 2010.
  • Most households will not simply throw a direct mail advertisement into the trash. 74% will either scan or read the direct mail they receive.
  • When placing online orders, customers who receive a catalog in the mail will spend 28% more than those who do not receive one.

These facts support the notion that even though customers are increasingly using the Internet to place their orders, when a customer receives a catalog or other direct mail piece, it will drive more orders to the website than when a catalog is not mailed.

The report points out that this is partly due to online ad fatigue. Marketers who depend solely on online ads will not do as well as those who use mailing lists in combination with a website to place the orders.

Multi-Channel Marketing

The report contained some interesting facts about combining online sales with catalog mailings:

  • When the report was published in 2010, it was forecasted that for every dollar spent to produce direct mail catalogs, it would generate $7.34 in sales.
  • Customers who are 55 or older prefer to shop from catalogs and place their orders by phone – presumably because they would like to speak to a live person instead of navigating through a website and placing orders without customer assistance.
  • Prospects who are directed to a website from a catalog tend to be more qualified than those who arrive from search engines and other online sources and will convert to sales at a higher rate.
  • Catalog shoppers also tend to be more familiar with products when they arrive at the Website and are more prepared to make a purchase.

Helpful Tips For Mailing List Managers

In addition to its facts and figures, the report contains some helpful advice for mailing list managers.

Co-Mailing: Flats mailers can achieve significant postage savings through co-mailing. Co-mailing with other titles will increase your available postage discounts. For example, if you have a 3 million-piece mailer and you could co-mail it with an additional 2 million-piece mailer, your postage rate will be based on a 5 million-piece mailing and the postage savings would be significant.

Consider First-Class Post Cards: If it is not practical to mail a catalog for a promotional event, then consider mailing a First-Class post card instead. Post cards are cheaper than mailing catalogs and are most likely to be read by customers.

“or Current Resident”: Include “or Current Resident” on your address labels when mailing a generic offer like a catalog. Your mailer will be delivered instead of being thrown out or returned and your chances of getting a sale will increase.

Data Hygiene: Make sure your mailing list provider is able to provide data hygiene to increase the mailing efficiency and cut down on duds. Mailing responses will be improved with advanced suppression tools. For example, good data hygiene practices will use suppression files such as “prison” and “deceased” in addition to “child” and “undeliverable address” files.

Mailing list accuracy: Reliance on the USPS changes of address may not be as effective as proprietary change of address tools used by some mailing list providers. According to the US Postal Service, about 22 percent of people who move each year do not file an official change of address. Thus, targeting can be improved with a more accurate mailing list.

The report can be downloaded from the Experian website from this link.

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