Study: Nonprofit, Retail and BTB Get Highest Response

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ORLANDO, FL -- Nonprofit fundraisers, retail stores and establishments providing services to businesses achieved top average response rates in a study released yesterday by the Direct Marketing Association at its annual conference and exhibition.

According to "The DMA 2003 Response Rate Study," the average response rate for the 1,122 industry-specific campaigns the organization studied was 2.61 percent.

Industries achieving above-average response rates included nonprofit fundraisers (5.35 percent), retail stores (3.36 percent), establishments rendering services to businesses (3.34 percent), manufacturing (3.17 percent), personal and repair services (3.07 percent), travel (2.98 percent), computer and electronic products (2.86 percent) and packaged goods (2.79 percent).

The overall average response rate for direct mail, including mailings to both house and prospect files, was 2.54 percent. Direct mail produced the greatest response rates for packaged goods (5.36 percent), store retailers (4.35 percent), nonprofit fundraisers (3.93 percent), travel services (3.61 percent) and personal repair services (3.02 percent).

The overall catalog "media" average of 2.41 percent compares with the catalog "industry" average of 2.52 percent.

"Catalog as a media is for a company that uses catalog in their marketing mix, and catalog as an industry is somebody whose primary business is a catalog," DMA spokeswoman Christina Duffney said. "A Spiegel would be a catalog industry while Staples would be a catalog media."

Industries that use catalogs to generate above-average response rates include membership organizations (3.2 percent), retail stores (3.17 percent) and manufacturing (3.17 percent).

Catalogers used other direct marketing media to prospect or drive traffic to their catalogs and/or Web sites, or to notify customers of special sales, etc. E-mail is a key factor in catalog sales, with 38.1 percent of respondents reporting use. Package inserts and statement stuffers were used by more than 10 percent of respondents.

More than 90 percent of Web marketers allocated media dollars for e-mail marketing to their house files. The average overall response rate for e-mail campaigns was 1.88 percent. Leaders in e-mail response rates include wholesale trade (3.83 percent), manufacturing (3.39 percent), retail stores (2.71 percent), communications (2.65 percent) and health services (2.29 percent).

The average response rates for telephone marketing were the highest of all media, but the average promotion costs also were relatively higher. The average for telephone campaigns is 7.44 percent. Industries that use telephone marketing to achieve above-average response rates include nonprofit fundraisers (19.42 percent), education (12.46 percent), insurance carriers/agents (8.78 percent), manufacturers (8.56 percent) and travel services (8 percent).

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