New Benchmarks for Direct Marketing Response Rates: How Do Yours Compare?

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New Benchmarks for Direct Marketing Response Rates: How Do Yours Compare?

The 2010 Response Rate Trends Report is out from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and if direct marketing is part of your smart marketing strategy, this report provides valuable response and cost metrics you can use to benchmark the success of your direct marketing campaigns.

2010 Response Rates and Cost per Response: Key Findings

Since DMA created the trends report in 2003, direct marketing has expanded far beyond traditional channels like direct mail and catalogs to email and interactive marketing, and DMA has broadened its metrics to include these new channels.

The DMA’s research found that:

  • Email to a house list averaged a 19.47% open rate, a 6.64% click-through rate, and a 1.73% conversion rate, with a bounce-back rate of 3.72% and an unsubscribe rate of 0.77%.
  • Direct mail response rates have held steady over the past four years. Letter-sized envelopes had a response rate this year of 3.42% for a house list and 1.38% for a prospect list.
  • Catalogs had the lowest cost per lead/order of $47.61, just ahead of inserts at $47.69, email at $53.85, and postcards $75.32.
  • Outbound telemarketing to prospects had the highest cost per order or lead of $309.25, but it also had the highest response rate from prospects of 6.16%.  The highest response rate for a house list was also telephone, at 10.41%.
  • Paid search had an average cost per click of $3.79, with a 3.81% conversion rate. The conversion rate (after click) of Internet display advertisements was slightly higher at 4.43%.
  • Response rates for business-to-business direct marketing campaigns were generally higher than for business-to-consumer campaigns.  Lead generation and high-end average sale campaigns also had higher response rates.

Meaningful Measures for Evaluating Direct Response Campaigns

The DMA is the leading global trade association of the direct response industry, representing companies from dozens of vertical industries in the U.S. and 48 other nations, including nearly half of the FORTUNE® 100 companies, as well as nonprofit organizations. As a direct marketing consultant, I’ve been proud to be a DMA member for more than 25 years.

DMA’s research gives direct marketers an authoritative, independent gauge on response rates and costs for typical direct marketing formats, which is essential to measuring the effectiveness of a business-to-business or business-to-consumer direct marketing strategy.

DMA’s 2010 Response Rate Trends Report costs $260 for members and $470 for non-members. It can be ordered from the DMA website.

  • forex robot

    What a great resource!

    July 12, 2010 at 9:04 pm
  • List Broker | Data Broker

    Great post – does anyone know the latest 2011 open rates on b2b mailing lists? I have checked the DMA but there is not a lot of information. Sources so far suggest 70% – is that accurate?

    July 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm
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