• February 7, 2005
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

The Most Effective Direct Mail Campaigns

Vertis announced the results of its "Customer Focus 2005: Retail Direct Marketing" study, which revealed that direct mail campaigns increase the number of in-store and first-time visits from customers. The survey, conducted by telephone, interviewed 2,000 adults, age 18 years and older. The study reveals the effect a direct mail campaign can have for a retail business on new customers. For example, one out of every four adults surveyed with a household income of $30,000 to $50,000 responded they would try someplace new based on direct mail received within the past 90 days. That figure jumps to 33 percent among older baby boomer (1946-1955) women. "It's all about driving those new customers to the store or Web site," says Scott Marden, director of marketing research at Vertis. "Retailers are becoming more targeted and understanding about who they want to reach, and the survey clearly demonstrates that direct mail is a great way to do that." The study also reveals what messages adults respond to the most. Direct mail that carries discounts or cost savings is most effective, the report finds. For 51 percent of those surveyed a special offer or discount will make a difference whether or not they open direct mail. Seventy-six percent of adults with a household income of $50,000 to $75,000 who read retail direct mail have responded to messages with coupons. Similarly, 72 percent of adults with a household income of less than $30,000 who read retail direct mail said they have responded to messages with buy-one-get-one free offers, indicating cost savings are important across wide ranges of income. Also, 63 percent of adults responded that an interesting looking package makes a difference as to which direct mail they open. "I think the results are relative to where we are in today's economy," Marden says. "Seventy-two percent is pretty high, and we're seeing that everywhere, not just direct mail, but also in newspapers and circulars. People are paying a lot of attention to coupons and I think that's expected during an economy where people are careful about how they spend their money." Finally, the results reveal the types of direct mail that women read in comparison to their age. Ninety-four percent of younger female baby boomers (1956 to 1964) who read retail direct mail said they read from discount stores, compared to 83 percent of older baby boomer women. Ninety-five percent of younger female baby boomers said they receive information from a department store, compared to just 84 percent of generation X (1965 to 1976) women. Ninety percent of female generation Y (1977 to 1994) women said they read grocery direct mail, compared to 85 percent of older baby boomers. "With the huge number of products competing in the marketplace, consumers are always seeking information on the prices and selections available to ensure they are getting the best value," says Therese Mulvey, vice president of marketing research at Vertis, in a prepared statement. "Adults have become more receptive to using direct mail to obtain this information, and it has proven to be an effective medium for retailers to connect with new customers." Related articles: The Ideal Shopping Experience
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