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Direct Marketing


Dall'Economist un articolo in inglese da leggere

AdvertisingOn the matNov 24th 2005From The Economist print edition
Direct mail is losing its effectiveness
AS MUCH as people hate it, junk mail worksotherwise they would not send you the stuff. Unlike television or newspaper ads, the return on investment from a direct-mail campaign can be accurately measured. Even though only a small percentage of people may read the material, the response rate has been high enough to make junk mail one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. But that could be changing.
One of the biggest users of direct mail is the financial services industry, which spent around $2.5 billion on mail shots in America last year. Unfortunately, people seemed less interested than ever in signing up for new credit cards or insurance policies. The response rate from some campaigns has fallen to just 1.4%, according to America's Direct Marketing Association (DMA). In previous years it was well above 2%. When it comes to responding to "direct-order" mail shots (signing up to an offer, as opposed to merely expressing an interest), the rate has fallen even more dramatically, to 0.7% from 3.5% in 2004.
The problem seems to be too many envelopes cluttering too many mail boxes, "leading many consumers to discard the blizzard of solicitations they receive", according to Advertising Age. The trade publication says firms must target their mail shots better. But that costs more money. It could mean buying a list of potential customers.
But why write when you can ring? Despite "don't call" lists, when it comes to soliciting a sale the phone produces the highest response rate, at an average of 8.6%, according to the DMA.
Some of the dodgiest marketing outfits now use the phone to tout their offers. In Britain, the latest trick is to use automatic dialling machines to call mobile phone numbers at random, but then to hang up after just one or two rings. Seeing a missed call, the unsuspecting recipient will usually ring back just in case it is something important, only to be greeted by a sales pitch. Getting the customer to pay the cost of cold calls takes real chutzpah.