August 2015 –This article by Summer Gould in Target Marketing provides great insight on how to use various channels of communication for effective direct marketing.

The following text presents verbatim excerpts from the article (Direct Mail: Know the Response). You can read the original article here.


In 2015, how can you not know what your response rate was? You need this information. How can you execute a marketing plan without knowing your numbers?

So, let’s take a look at what the DMA 2015 Response Rate Report found:

  • The average response rate is 3.7%
  • The average cost per response is $19 which when compared to other channels is very competitive
  • Best performing style by category is an oversized envelope at 5%
  • The next best performing style by category is a postcard at 4.25%
  • The most expensive category to mail are dimensional pieces at $30 per response
  • The next most expensive are catalogs at $23 per response
  • The most common way to track direct mail response is online at 22%
  • The next most common way is through a call center at 19%

How do your numbers compare? One key takeaway is that direct mail response rates are higher than all digital media in the study. Direct mail can benefit your marketing mix, but you need to know your numbers so you can keep doing what works, and fix what doesn’t. One other note: most marketers now use more than one channel in order to fulfill campaign objectives. The study found that in most cases marketers were using three or more channels. When they were, the channels used most often together were direct mail, email and social media.

The three core components to focus on with direct mail are the list, design and offer.

When you know your numbers, you are able to predict your results with more accuracy and continue to improve the quality of the direct mail you are sending out. When you are able to send the right offers to the right people by knowing your results, you decrease your cost per acquisition and increase your ROI.