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Direct response rates:  What’s expected?


We’re often asked what the “expected” rate of response is for various forms of direct marketing. Of course, every marketer knows that results can differ dramatically depending on the market, the list, the offer and the marketing method employed.

But there is value in understanding what might be “normative” versus “outlier” results.  

The Direct Marketing Association helps in this regard by publishing an annual Response Rate Report. The 2012 DMA stats show these response rates by selected type:
direct_response_rates
The response rates for telemarketing are the highest … but this approach also costs the most (~$78 per order or lead for a house/customer list; ~$190 for a prospect list). Also, costs are generally higher for B-to-B campaigns than consumer ones.

But before you start thinking that e-mail marketing or paid search aren’t worth the effort because of their low response rates, remember that their program costs are also much, much lower. Interestingly, the DMA finds that cost-per-order or lead for these acquisition campaigns are actually quite similar:

  • Direct mail:  $51.40
  • Paid search:  $52.58
  • Postcard mailer:  $54.10
  • E-Mail:  $55.24

 

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