Time is key to good mailing

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NEW YORK - "Not the right time" is the main reason cited for consumers not buying products or services through direct marketing, according to a report by the Direct Marketing Association.

The "DM Consumer Response Study," a national survey of multichannel direct marketing sent to 1,000 US consumers between October 2006 and January 2007 found 24.4 percent of respondents were unwilling to purchase because of bad timing.

"This is very important for direct marketing to understand," said Peter A. Johnson, vice president of research and market intelligence at the DMA. "Timing is the next frontier of relevance."

Other reasons for not buying include "not relevant tome" (23.6 percent); "already have enough/already donated" (13 percent); "wanted information only" (6.2 percent); and "too expensive" (5.7 percent).

On the other hand, the main reasons for buying included "good price" (24.7 percent); "I am a regular customer or supporter of the charity" (16.3 percent); "unique item or service" (11.1 percent); "liked special offer" (10 .4 percent); and liked the convenience/ease of ordering (8.6 percent).

Other findings included 79.6 percent of consumers made at least one purchase in response to direct marketing communications in the last year.

More than 30 percent of consumers recorded making a direct marketing purchase during a two-day diary period, with an average expenditure per purchaser of $253.97.

In total, consumers recorded receiving or noticing 8,850 direct marketing promotions across all channels during their two-day survey period. These promotions then resulted in 703 total purchases.

While Mr. Johnson said the full significance of these findings are still being analyzed, he said that "the findings suggest an overall positive degree of convergence between direct marketers and consumers while revealing significant variations in consumer responsiveness by channel and product category that marketers should be conscious of."

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