DM targeting can still be tighter

Latest door drop statistics from the Direct Marketing Association put a brave face on declining volumes of door drop mail.

The statistics show volume down 11% in 2008 but the DMA points out that the value, or spend, on direct mail has only fallen 5%, to £277m.

The survey measures door drop volume and advertising spend for leaflets, catalogues, newsletters and product samples for commercial organisations, local authorities, charities and central government.

Aside from the fact these figures are now more than 12 months old, and the trend in 2009 could have accelerated or even reversed, given the turbulent and unpredictable year just gone, can the DMA shed any more light on the statistics?

The association argues that the discrepancy in decline in volume and in value partly shows better targeting techniques and improved use of data, hence less wastage. However, it also acknowledges negative factors for the volume decline, such as the economic climate and the faltering regional free newspaper market.

It’s heartening to know that targeting is constantly improving, both from the view point of environmentally sound practise and, just as importantly avoiding aggravating the recipient with irrelevant information.

But a glance at the latest fast.MAP/DMA Marketing-GAP Tracking Study shows that the percentage of people ditching an unopened mail pack because they have no interest in the company involved is up from 63% in 2008 to 74% in 2009; it doesn’t matter if they recognise the brand or company, if there’s no relevance then in the bin it goes.

This suggests there is plenty of room to tighten up on targeting and hitting the right consumer at the right time when they are in the market for a purchase or willing to sign up for a service.

More data from this tracking study shows that consumers place less value on the “design” of a piece of mail than marketers think and it is not one of the strong factors in binning or opening.

Does that mean companies should be investing more budget in the data and targeting and less on the creative side of their DM pieces? That’s a proposition bound to have its naysayers, especially from the world of agencies, many of which see creativity as their currency and differentiator. One thing’s for sure, DM budgets are likely to be tighter this year than last, so every pound has to work hard.

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