There’s good news from DMA’s study on Direct Mail

in Direct Mail,Marketing for Nonprofits

The Direct Marketing Association released the “DMA 2010 Statistical Fact Book: The Definitive Source for Direct Marketing Benchmarks.”    It’s based on research from more than 75 leading sources. 

And in the words of the DMA, “…the 2010 Statistical Fact Book is the source for benchmarks on campaign response, projections for media spending in coming years, breakdowns of production costs, revenues, and expenditures, and much, much more.”

Ethan Boldt, editor-in-chief of Inside Direct Mail, summarized the findings from the Direct Mail chapter in the Feb 18th issue.  According to Boldt’s article . . .

Quantity of mail continues to decline for the fourth year in a row
As consumers, we average 24.7 pieces of mail per week.  That’s a 5.7% drop compared to peak which was in 2005 and 2006 (26.2 pieces of mail per week back then).  But the good news according to Boldt is that it “…also means there’s less of a crowd to stand out in.”  Stated another way – it’s an opportunity for you to shine because there’s less mail competing for attention.

Postcards are doing well
47.9 percent of household prospects “read” postcards in 2008, up from 41.5 percent in 2007.   This is the mail format we’re most likely to read. Why?  Because we’re pressed for time. 

But then again, ALL formats are getting read more
Boldt speculates perhaps it’s because we have less in our mailboxes.  Or perhaps the slower pace of old-fashioned paper mail is a relief after a harried day of email, mobile and social media. 

As for the stats: “Letter-size envelopes went up a few points, with 33.4 percent of household prospects reading them; oversize envelopes snagged 39.2 percent, a 10 percent rise.”

What gets read the most and the fastest?
The federal government comes out on top with 62.6 percent of households reading this mail “immediately.”  Other categories: Merchants at 51.1%; Social, charitable or political at 42.8%; Services at 37.6%; and financial services is at the bottom with only 32.7 percent of household prospects reading their mail immediately.

Who gets the best response?
The non-federal government is in first place.  19% of household prospects “will respond” to their mail. Merchants come in second at 15.6 percent. Social, charitable or political is at 8.8 percent response. Services got 5.6 percent. And financial services still finished at the bottom with 3.7 percent.

Here are a few more stats Boldt shared from the DMA 2010 Statistical Fact Book:

  • 79 percent of households either read or scan advertising mail sent to their household. Within that 79 percent, 49 percent are the readers and 30 percent the scanners.  That’s more good news!
  • 75 percent of marketers plan to increase use of social media in their marketing activities.
  • Direct mail represents 52 percent of total mail volume in U.S.
  • CREs outperformed BREs.  More people respond when a courtesy-reply envelope rather than a business-reply envelope is provided.  Interesting. 

Click here to read Ethan Bold’ts complete article from Inside Direct Mail. 

And in case you were wondering, these are all the topics in the DMA 2010 Statistical Fact Book.  Each have a chapter devoted to them:

  • Catalog
  • Consumer Demographics
  • Direct Mail
  • Direct Marketing Overview
  • Email
  • Financial Services
  • Hispanic Market
  • Internet
  • Mobile
  • Nonprofit
  • Social Media
  • USPS Information