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Size Matters: DMA Response Rate Report on Direct Mail Formats

Mike Ertel

It didn’t surprise us to read in the 2015 DMA Response Rate Report that the format and size of the mailpiece used in your direct marketing campaign can impact your results. In fact, we have a lot of evidence and analysis that says direct mail formats and size will impact your results.

For example, the DMA report says using an oversized envelope can result in a higher response rate when mailing to a prospect list rather than using a letter-sized envelope. It also notes that higher response comes with a significantly higher cost per response ($105 vs. $58). In the words of the robot from Lost In Space, “this does not compute” when thinking about driving the best possible return on your marketing investment (ROMI). So how can you use the physical attributes of your mailpiece to achieve the highest ROMI? Let’s look at some of the lessons our adroit creative team employs when designing champion direct mail packages for our customers.

Take Advantage of the Physicality of Direct Mail

Unlike electronic communications, a physical mailpiece allows the recipient to interact with the piece using multiple senses. Neurological studies in both the United Kingdom and the United States show that physical material involves more emotional processing in the brain, which can enhance memory and brand associations. Close your eyes and imagine what happens when you use treatments such as textured or embossed paper or special paper finishes such as “soft touch.” Your offer is more likely to be opened because it feels different than everything else in the mailbox.

Stand Out in the Mailbox: Small is the New Large

As the DMA data indicates, size matters for a mailpiece. You want your mailpiece to stand out from the other mail in that day’s delivery and to land in the “open now” pile. Much of the mail we receive, whether it has a marketing or transactional purpose, comes in a pretty small range of sizes―mostly #10s or 6 x 9s. A mailpiece that is a significantly different size can be just what is needed to get the recipient’s attention. We often want to “shout” by sending a very large mailpiece, but it can be just as effective to “whisper” by sending a mailpiece that is smaller than average. We have had great success using smaller-sized packages (for example, a mini-monarch, which is 4” x 6.25”). They get noticed as being “different” and still offer enough space for a compelling call-to-action to drive the response you want.

“Oversized” Direct Mail Formats Don’t Necessarily Mean More Postage

As mentioned above, one of the things the DMA report tells us is that, although larger mailpieces can drive a higher response, they can also cost more to produce. But keep in mind that while a larger mailpiece may cost more in materials, it doesn’t automatically mean a higher postage cost. Since postage is often the largest single cost in producing a direct mail campaign, this tip is worth getting the ruler out. Although larger than most other mailpieces, a “stretch” package (say 6” x 11”) is still within the U.S. Postal Service definition of letter mail (maximum size 6-⅛” x 11-½”). That means you pay the same postage for a more noticeable “stretch” package as you would for a more conventional #10. So why not take advantage of the postage efficiency a stretch package offers?

As you can see, our creative team gets direct mail in every sense of the word. They understand which direct mail formats get the envelope opened and how to generate return on your marketing investment once the envelope is opened. Let us show you what they can do for your ROMI.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2015/08/04/direct-mail-formats-and-response-rates/
Mike Ertel

Author

Mike Ertel

Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Stout. Bringing the “it’s the people that make us great” philosophy to IWCO Direct since 2002. Loves Father’s Day, spending time with family and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

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