Contrary to all the noise you’ve probably heard direct mail is dying and the constant blabbing about the digital media taking over the marketing, the latest release of the DMA Response Rate Report 2016 (fees apply) is packed with great news about direct mail. 

You can read our previous article about the Direct Mail Response Rates according to the DMA’s 2015 Report. I do not understand, why the DMA released the 2016 updated report almost in silence, a report full of positive numbers for any direct marketing channel, physical or digital.

In 2015, direct mail took over 30% of the $153.2 billion spent on local marketing - the highest percentage for any single medium, and it is rising since! For comparison, in 2013 direct mail had less than 30% of the $130 billion spent. (BIA/Kelsey, 2014)

It’s true, 98 percent of the people through USA check their mail every day and 77 percent opens it the same day they get it! 66% a more likely to remember printed coupon than any display ad on their screens.

Opposite to the believe young people doesn’t like mail, 42% of the millennials prefer direct mail over online ads, and 23% purchased something because of receiving direct mail in the past 12 months.

But enough chatter, here are the latest trends in direct mail response rates.

1. Direct Mail response rates made a huge upswing in 2016 to the whooping 5.3% response rate for a house list vs the 3.7% in 2015. The numbers are the highest reported since 2003. The rates for prospect list went up as well from 1% in 2015 to the outstanding 2.9% in 2016.

2. The digital channels make a slight jump in the response rate as well, but nowhere near the direct mail numbers, so the gap between them is growing bigger and bigger.

3. Email continues to score the highest ROI among all direct marketing channels - 122%, followed by social media (measured for the first time) and direct mail, respectively 28% and 27%. All other digital channels fall far behind. Calculate the ROI of your next direct marketing campaign.

4. Financial institutions and services, retail, and travel & leisure industries are still the largest users of direct mail. Over 60% of their marketing efforts goes to direct mail.

5. Sadly, regardless of the great results, direct mail use is expected to decline in near future. Probably now is the time for small companies to take a chance to enter the direct mail space, with high response rate numbers and lesser competition?

6. Email response rates took a slight improvement as well, especially for the house lists.

In conclusion, I would say no respecting itself business should rely on one marketing channel alone. Despite of all numbers and statistics and what the specific marketer say to you, there is NO single channel with Pros only, any marketing medium has Pros & Cons. The more channels integrated in cohesive campaigns you use in your marketing mix, the higher results you should expect.

TIP: Combine the high response rates of the direct mail with the efficiency of an email and bump your response and conversion rates as little as 40%, see growth in repeat orders up to 48% and over 30% increase in revenue.

Direct Mail Response Rates 2016 Interactive Infographic
Combine #directmail with #email for higher conversion rates
Milena Marguenski
Milena is the owner and CEO of US Presort.
US Presort | 3801 Victory Blvd., Suite 1 - Staten Island, NY 10314 | P : 718.980.6556