On June 14, 2012, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) released its Response Rate Report for 2012. The DMA has issued a similar report annually since 2003 in order to provide key cost and performance benchmarks to help marketers gauge the relative efficiency of their campaigns. In plain English what this report does is break down data from several sources in order to establish national averages for various types of marketing — direct mail, email, etc.
The types of marketing campaigns covered by the report has grown over time, and the DMA is now also able to provide some industry-specific figures. This year the DMA relied upon information gathered through surveys as well as “transactional data” from Epsilon and Bizo (including data surrounding 29 billion emails and 2 billion display ads) to draw their conclusions, some of which were pretty interesting. Here are two figures that got our attention:
1. Direct Mail to existing customers had a 3.4% response rate; Email to existing customers had a 0.12% response rate.
Customers were almost 30 times more likely to respond to print?!?! Interesting. We’ve talked in the past about doing email marketing “right” as well as the dangers of abusing email marketing because it’s pretty easy to do. We’ve also talked about the staying power of print, and how it is just less intrusive and less annoying than email. The DMA’s 2012 figures seem to support what we’ve seen, and it will be interesting to follow these numbers over time.
2. The cost per order or lead for acquisition campaigns were roughly equivalent for direct mail ($51.40), post card ($54.10), email ($55.24), and paid search ($52.58).
No matter how you try to do it, getting new customers is never free. Time, energy, planning, design, paper, postage, code. They all have a price. And it seems no matter which combination you use, for the time being they all get pretty much the same results. So it’s not really about which method you use as much as it is doing your best with the method you choose. (We suggest that for best results you’ll want to use more than one, including the method your customers want you to use.)
What do you think about the figures in the DMA report? Are they surprising to you? Which marketing methods will you be focusing on this year? Feel free to comment below.