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Wait! Direct Mail Ain’t Dead?! (Aka: Direct Mail Ties with Social Media as the Second Most Used Medium)

Posted on April 5, 2019 by David Rosendahl in Lead Generation

Did you know that Direct Mail ties with social media as the second most used medium?

According to the DMA’s recently-released research in “Response Rate Report: Performance and Cost Metrics Across Direct Media,” direct mail is used by 57% of surveyed marketers — matching social media adoption — and is up compared to last year.

Say what?!

Direct Mail is used by 57% of surveyed marketers — matching social media adoption — and is up compared to last year.

What’s also interesting is that participants continue to forecast a decrease in direct mail usage in the next year (19% say this is true for them), but in looking at past reports, they’ve been saying that for a long time.

It hasn’t happened, at least not within the surveyed group.

Direct Mail Response Rates

Echoing prior years, Direct Mail continues to produce the best response rate of any medium. Boom!

While it seems hard to believe, response rates for both house lists (9 percent) and prospect lists (4.9 percent) nearly doubled in 2018.

You read that right. What in the heck?

Response rates for both house lists (9 percent) and prospect lists (4.9 percent) nearly doubled in 2018.

If you don’t believe me, here’s the response rate chart for the past 15 years (because charts always make things more official, right?):

Direct Mail Response Rates 2003 – 2018

That said, Direct Mail continues to have the highest CPA of any medium.

However, don’t despair just yet. In this year’s study, the ROI of Direct Mail increased by 12 percentage points and exceeded that of online display.

You read that right. Direct Mail ROI is better than that of online display.

Sorry, Google.

Other Direct Mail Facts

A few other key findings include:

  • Direct Mail continues to see the most significant use in B2C campaigns
  • For respondents that track direct mail response rates, over half use online tracking capability (53 percent), like Personalized URLs (PURLs). Codes or coupons ranked second (45 percent) followed by call center or telephone response (41 percent).
  • It appears that mail volume to both house and prospect lists has declined since the 2017 study.

What Do You Want to Know?

These data are impressive, but I’m sure they raise many questions for you. We want to improve upon what’s here by adding some supporting facts and figures, but only if they help you. What else do you want to know?

How does this information change your thinking?