Direct Mail Still Effective for Marketers

As marketers add more e-mail and other digital outreach to their campaigns, offline media continues to be an important ingredient in the mix, according to a study released this week by the Direct Marketing Association.

The study, called The Integrated Marketing Media Mix, found that 75.4% of campaigns used direct mail, which generated 29% of the revenue. The leading medium was e-mail, which was used in 79.1% of campaigns and accounted for 21.6% of revenue generated.

“Even as marketers are bringing more digital media into their integrated campaigns, traditional media remain a core component of the marketing mix,” Yoram Wurmser, a research manager at DMA, New York, said in a statement. “What we see in our research is that digital media ranging from the firmly established e-mail to the nascent mobile marketing channels are complementing, not replacing, direct mail, telephone, events and direct response broadcast advertisements.”

Indeed, five out of the top six shares of the direct marketing budget went to offline media like direct mail, catalog, direct response TV and radio, events and telephone. E-mail was the only digital medium to break into the top five, coming in second with 11.3% of the budget.

When asked about how their media mix has changed over the past three years, 75.8% of respondents said they are using more e-mail; 61.1% are delving into more online video, and 62.9% included more search engine marketing into their media buys. 

Regarding future media usage, marketers indicated they expect digital’s share will increase, along with a steady reliance on offline media. Eighty-one percent project an increase in e-mail usage. More digital tools are expected to be included in marketing campaigns, such as search engine marketing, online video, banner/pop-up ads and mobile.

Other key findings show that digital media scored high in return on investment, generating almost twice the revenue relative to its share of marketing spend. Business-to-business campaigns relied heavily on telephone solicitations and event marketing, while business-to-consumer initiatives relied more on direct response print ads and direct response TV and radio spots. B-to-C marketers collected 8.2% of their responses from campaigns staged at retail stores, compared with 1.1% for B-to-B marketers who had more success with e-mail (17.2% compared with 9.2%). Also, small companies with fewer than 100 employees were quicker than larger companies to adopt new media, particularly real simple syndication (RSS) feeds, blogs and social networking sites.