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Direct Mail Statistics

Direct mail is not “dead.” But, it sure has declined in volume over the past 10 years. However, more marketers are adding mail to their array of integrated marketing tactics, because the engagement is growing as the clutter declines. Personalization and relevance is key. Costs are high but scale and ROI remain strong when direct mail is delivered to a well targeted audience. See the newest stats here


“Print is not dead!”

2016 Statistical Fact Book Byline for Direct Mail by Lois Brayfield CEO, J.Schmid & Assoc, Inc.

This sentiment was heard repeatedly in different iterations throughout the halls at the recent DMA &THEN conference. In fact, one session on this topic was in such high demand, the room was at capacity. Marketers want to know how print fits into today’s multichannel marketing.

Direct mail continues to serve as a key driver in most omnichannel marketing plans. It’s complemented well by online efforts, and fills a much-needed niche. Where online is generally low-cost, low impact, print is higher-cost, higher impact. Where online marketing is passive, direct mail is active. Direct mailings are proactive and tactile – demanding that the recipient DO something with it. The better response rates make the return on the investment worthwhile for both retention and acquisition.

However, the 2015 statistics are in and they’re telling us what we direct marketers predicted: 2015 direct mail volume was down while spend was up, most likely driven by postage increasesTwitterLogo_#55acee. On the bright side, the USPS has taken notice and is offering at least 3 discounts in 2016, for:

  1. interactive mail
  2. online video content
  3. driving to a mobile-responsive website

But there’s no denying that print, and thus direct mail are undergoing an evolution. And that leaves the questions: What has it become? And what is the next step in its evolution?

As it’s been for the last several years, efficiency remains king for all print marketing. Yes, the economy is in recovery, but direct marketers haven’t forgotten the lessons the recession taught us about efficiency. Additionally, extremely fine, targeted segmentation is now a given, as evidenced by the 4.3% increased data spend in 2015TwitterLogo_#55acee.

Direct mail is one of the most measurable of all media, boosting the quality of analytics for any campaign. An omnichannel marketer knows when mail is arriving and can use this knowledge to activate other touch points like email and telemarketing. It’s direct mail that anchors the campaign and drives the support tactics that can boost the overall effectiveness of an omnichannel effortTwitterLogo_#55acee.

The addition of web browsing data to the modeling process is furthering the connection between online behavior and offline marketing tactics. Scoring consumer behavior on websites is becoming an additional performance indicator for building responder files in the database arena.

Variable printing is another tool that’s being leveraged to capitalize on that data, and the lag time between the site visit and mail drop has decreased dramatically. In other words, a shopper browsing handbags on the web could receive a second touch in the mail within 24-48 hours. That’s a powerful way to motivate customers to take action.

Featured Direct Mail Statistics from 2016 DMA Statistical Fact Book

Were your coupons part of the 2.5 billion redeemed?

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Are you taking advantage of catalog as a marketing channel?

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The amount of catalogs mailed per year has declined dramatically by 9 million since 2007

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Direct mail volume is declining, but spend is still up

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Direct mail spend is expected to go down to 8.9 billion in 2016

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57% of mail volume is attributed to direct mail pieces

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