Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hunting Holiday Sales? Survey Tracks 2015 Shoppers

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes for a profitable start to the holiday season. spending is expected to jump ahead of last year, with a recent consumer survey by SAS reporting that 80% of consumers in the U.S., Canada and U.K. plan to spend as much as, or more than, they did last year (29% in the U.S. specifically said they plan to spend more). Where will they be shopping? According to the SAS survey report by MarketingProfs, some 68% will favor the discount retailers, 59% will choose e-tailers, and 53% will crowd department stores. Gift cards are the top gift choice of consumers, followed by toys/games and apparel. Note that 28% of surveyed shoppers say they will buy a gift for the family pet, a lot more than those who feel like giving to humans outside the family, such as co-workers (only 17%) or neighbors (13%). To boost sales, target a younger crowd in those holiday promotions. Shoppers aged 18 to 29 are more likely to hit the Black Friday week sales per the survey, with 42% saying they will shop the whole week, 41% on Black Friday, and 35% on Cyber Monday. And those millennial shoppers also are more likely to increase spending over last year, while most older consumers stick to their 2014 budgets. And here's more good news: The holiday spending spree will extend past Christmas, with 63% of all consumers saying they plan to shop the after-holiday sales. For more details and a great infographic, go to the MarketProfs article at

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Just the Facts: Why Direct Mail Is Alive--and Thriving

DBM Designs' experience as a partner with successful direct mail programs has helped us ignore the perennial claims of direct mail's demise. But for marketers who still doubt snail mail's continued marketing power, we're happy to share this year's facts from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) 2015 Statistical Fact Book and its latest Response Rate Report. For one thing, company spending on direct mail continues to grow, not shrink, with $46 billion spent on direct mail in 2014—up from $44.8 billion in 2013. Organizations also are expected to spend $9.3 billion on data for direct mail in 2015, an increase over the previous two years. One reason for direct mail's staying power with marketers is that it continues to lead in response. Average response rates for direct mail are 3.7% for house lists and 1% for prospect names, which are both higher rates than for mobile, paid search, social media. Internet display ads and e-mail. For example, e-mail scores an average 0.1% response for customers and prospects. Only telemarketing beats direct mail in response power at 9%-10%, per DMA data. At $19 average cost per acquisition for house lists, direct mail acquisition also costs less than paid search ($21-$30) and Internet display ads ($41-$50) and is close to the $16-$18 CPA of mobile and social. Direct mail does lose out to e-mail ($11-$15) on CPA for house lists. But DMA's most important metric--median ROI--shows why direct mail in still in the game and not on the bench. Although e-mail and telemarketing lead in median ROI (21%-23% and 19%-20%, respectively) compared with direct mail's 15%-17%, direct mail ROI is still on par with social media and way ahead of mobile, paid search and Internet display. For more direct marketing industry benchmarks and response details by direct mail package type and customer target (business or consumer), see

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Without Response Tracking, Your Mailing Isn't Marketing

Quantifiable response data is the soul of direct mail. How else do marketers judge effectiveness, read testing, improve results or budget by channel? Yet we sometimes see direct mail pieces that are long on creative appeal and short on response tracking strategy, a recipe for current and future marketing waste. For a primer on direct mail tracking methods, check out a 2015 Target Marketing magazine article by Summer Gould. Here are her seven suggested tracking devices: QR codes with a landing page for each campaign; PURLs with a unique landing page for each campaign; coupons with a code to track response on redemption; reply cards with a code for each campaign imprinted to track returns; a response phone number, either specific to each campaign or connected to a call center that asks for a code from the piece on intake; text messaging, either providing a special number for each campaign or requiring a code entry from the mail piece on the text response; a mail piece redemption that requires the recipient to bring the mailer with them to get a discount or some other special offer at a sales or event site. Mailers don't have to limit themselves to just one of these methods, of course; offering more than one way to get in touch can capture more responses by recipient preferences. For more detail, read

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fundraising Success Relies on Good Data Measurement

In providing data services for many nonprofit fundraising efforts, either directly or via their list brokers and agencies, we can vouch for the critical importance of good data measurement and analytics. A recent post by William Comcowich, CMO of CyberAlert media measurement service, addressed that key nonprofit challenge. He began by citing six tips for improved nonprofit data measurement courtesy of Katie Paine, measurement expert and CEO of Paine Publishing LLC: Clarifying the mission and the role each activity plays in support; measuring results from all stakeholders (volunteers, sponsors, employees, and the people served as well as donors); selecting at least three specific, quantifiable and time-limited metrics for analyzing communications channels, including direct mail, e-mail and social media; gaining across-the-board leadership support of measurement; taking advantage of existing data and data gathering across departments; and analysis of measured results to improve and repeat good performance. Comcowich also stressed the need to focus on donor preference data. Based on measurable donor preferences, fundraisers can improve response with tactics such as targeting appeals and communications by age to leverage generational differences; adjusting communications frequency; and segmenting for channel and content preference to boost engagement. For the complete article, read