I read with great interest your report on direct marketing (MW July 24) and was frankly stunned by the context in which some of the comments were placed.
Within any industry, there is always a degree of “the misdemeanours of the few taint those of the many”. But it is very unfair to tarnish everyone with the same brush. By mentioning in your feature simply how many complaints the DM sector had last year and what percentage was upheld, you were only looking at those select few companies that are being irresponsible.
What you failed to mention is that more than 3.7 billion pieces of direct mail were sent out in 2001 – looked at in this light, 2,710 complaints is a drop in the ocean.
I was also amazed by the suggestion that, because the industry standard for response rates is a small percentage, every person who does not respond must hate receiving
direct mail. Does it not occur that sometimes recipients simply don’t have the money that month to take up the offer, or they have just taken that credit card the day before, but actually like the fact that companies still want to communicate with them?
I am not suggesting that the industry doesn’t have to make improvements: we are all aware of the need to clean our databases and the majority of companies are now beginning to use the suppression files available. However, considering that every year the industry continues to grow and response rates increase, it must be doing something right.
Highbury Direct Media