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BizReport : Advertising : September 08, 2009

USPS: 63% of mail is advertising

It may come as a surprise - then again maybe not - that direct mail advertisers are competing against one another for the attention of a small number of households. According to a recent USPS study, nearly two-thirds (63%) of the mail received by households in the US was actually advertisements rather than cards, letters or postcards from friends.

by Kristina Knight

Only about ">3% of the total mail sent/received in 2008 was from another consumer rather than an advertiser. Consumers are also receiving magazines/newspapers and communications from their banks and credit cards. Still, it is surprising that advertising accounts for such a high percentage of the mail sent. And it should serve as a warning to marketers.

What does this mean? For direct mail marketers, it means the information sent must grab attention, hold a good offer and stand out from the hundreds of other advertisements sent through the mail.

First, don't think these mailings can't be targeted. Although it is much harder to target an offline advertisement, there is data available to help narrow down the target for direct mailings. Options such as Dahlgren Buckley Dement's data procurement can help you figure out who should be targeted by your ad and who should be avoided.

Second, as with email marketing, cull your list. If a consumer has been a 'bounce' or has not responded to a mailing from you in several months, cull them from the list. Likewise, ensure that there are no duplicate addresses in your list as that will increase your cost at the post office.

Third, consider merging similar files to give consumers the best, most concise information available.

Finally, make them an offer they can't refuse. In addition to the 'offer' tell them why your product is better for them than competitor products, then reel them in with the best offer available.

Tags: advertising, direct mail, direct mail advertising, USPS

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