When it comes to direct marketing, data is a powerful tool. It can tell you what’s working and what isn’t, and show you trends and benchmarks that can guide your efforts. It can provide you with the insights you need to reach people more effectively—both today and with an eye toward the future.
For marketers, a fantastic resource for viewing in-depth marketing data across channels is the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Statistical Fact Book. DMA has been producing this marketing resource annually for 36 years, and it contains hundreds of pages of graphs and statistics. We strongly recommend everyone obtain a copy of the 2014 Fact Book. There is a cost to purchase it (with a discount for DMA members), but there is also great value to the insights in the book.
In today’s blog post, we’ll spotlight some key direct marketing stats from the 2014 DMA Fact Book across five different marketing channels: direct mail, Internet, email, search, and mobile.
Direct Marketing Data Points for Five Key Consumer Channels
Here are a handful of direct marketing research findings that may surprise you, along with some insightful excerpts from the 2014 DMA Fact Book:
It seems more companies are figuring out how to fit direct mail into the modern marketing equation. Despite fears the channel would “die”, direct mail continues to hold unique value for customers—even (surprisingly) younger ones.
- 56% of postcards are read by recipients, making them the direct mail piece most likely to be read
- More people respond when a courtesy-reply envelope is provided rather than a business-reply envelope
- 87.3 billion pieces was the overall volume of direct mail sent out in 2013, representing 56.2% of all mail
- 2.9 billion direct mail coupons were redeemed by customers in 2013
- $44.9 billion was the total amount spent on direct mail in 2013, an increase over the previous year
“People like to get mail. They enjoy the experience of going to the mailbox and finding something interesting to look at and hold in their hands… An encouraging sign for direct mail marketers is that very young adults, 24 and younger, are among the most mail responsive groups today.”
When it comes to the Internet, marketers are still striving to develop best practices for using tools like paid search, display ads, online deals, personalization, etc. Organizations are putting more money into Internet marketing though, and they are expecting to see results.
- 102.5 million adults redeemed an online coupon in 2013
- Nearly 108 million adults in the U.S. bought something online in 2013
- Email is the preferred communication method between retailers and consumers
- 425 million devices are connected to the Internet in U.S. homes
- Over $20 billion was spent on search advertising in 2013 and $17.6 billion was spent on display ads
“Nearly half of online adults globally are always addressable and expect marketers to meet their needs whenever and wherever it matters. As a result, the investment in marketing is higher than ever before. In 2012, $1.5 trillion was spent on marketing and communications, creating significantly more pressure to demonstrate how the marketing spend positively impacts revenue.”
There’s no denying that search engines like Google play a big role in whether brands get found on the Web. As a result, improving search results continues to be a key goal of organizations with their online marketing efforts.
- 89% of companies report they do SEO
- 78% of companies said they use paid search
- The leading objective of paid search in 2013 was direct sales, followed closely by lead generation. The reverse was true in 2012.
- There has been a steady decline for the Google paid search click share for desktops since Q4 2012
- Marketers report that testing and optimizing PPC campaigns is not only the most effective PPC tactic to execute (61%) but it is also the most difficult (45%)
“In the past year alone we’ve seen Enhanced Campaigns, the rise of Product Listing Ads, continued growth of engines not named Google in global markets and the launch of Yahoo! Gemini. And all of it comes down to one thing─finding new ways for marketers to get their ads in front of people searching for information online.”
Reaching consumers via email remains a challenge as inboxes get more overloaded. Still, brands are getting better at providing more relevant marketing emails and consumers are getting better at separating the relevant from the irrelevant.
- 94.3% of adults 25–34 had a personal computer in 2012, and 82.5% had broadband access
- 223 million people will be email users in 2014
- 416 commercial email messages is the average number an email user receives in a month
- 86% of marketers are routinely testing email subject lines to optimize performance
- Nearly two-thirds of commercial email messages were opened on mobile devices during the December 2013 holidays
“Email finally pushed away from the desk and left the office at the end of 2013, becoming a mostly mobile channel as smartphones and tablets accounted for more than 50% of all opens… Increasingly, email marketers can connect with consumers virtually anywhere; and where they are, and what device they’re on matters because it changes their expectations and behaviors.”
No channel has had a bigger impact on marketing in the past few years than mobile. And that impact is only becoming larger and more powerful. Consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to interact with brands like never before.
- U.S. retail mobile sales will reach $56.72 billion in 2014
- Nearly 77 million U.S. adults will use mobile coupons this year
- 32% of American adults own an e-reader and 42% own a tablet computer.
- 90% of American adults own a cell phone; almost 60% of those are smartphones.
- The average smartphone user spends 2 hours 22 minutes using their phone daily
“Mobile is influencing nearly every aspect of the customer journey. Mobile is influencing upwards of $670 billion in sales in the United States. Mobile users are using their phones and tablets throughout the day to check product and pricing information, locate stores, source the best offer, read and make reviews, access customer service and more, all in real time.”