Respond Dammit

Spike Jones at Brains On Fire republished the latest response rate findings from the Direct Marketing Association:

Here’s a breakdown of what they found out about average response rates for 2005:
Direct Mail: 2.77%
Dimensional Mail: 3.67%
Postcards: 2.19%
Catalogs: 3.67%
E-mail: 2.48%
Telephone: 8.55%
Package Inserts: 1.74%
Statement Stuffers: Less than 1%
Coupons: 4.29%
Banner/Rich Media Ads: 3.52%
Search Engine Marketing: 1.07%
Newspaper – Space Advertising: 0.5%
Magazine – Space Advertising: 0.17%
DRTV: 8.14%
Radio: 0.31%

I love creating print ads. And you don’t exactly hear about print being dead, but look at those response rates. I guess a double truck in Rolling Stone really is a vanity placement.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Greg Zirkle says:

    I’m not convinced of the conclusions presented here. First, the DMA has a clear vested interest in these types of numbers as sponsor of the research. Second, not all media are intended for direct response in the first place. And third, it is often familiarity generated by other media — “double trucks in Rolling Stone” perhaps? — that gets the direct marketing pieces opened in the first place.
    I use almost all the media listed for my clients. The magic is not in direct marketing alone, it’s in the mix.

  2. Another consideration is that these print ad figures are for direct response print ads. Most print ads in magazines are branding efforts versus direct response. And I’ll bet the long-term responses for branding efforts significantly exceed the rates of the standard bulk-rate postcard.
    Here’s another figure I just made up — Direct Marketing Executives worth a shit: 1.2%.

  3. What about Seth Godin? He’s an innovatove sort. Maybe he’s in that 1.2% you mention.

  4. few folks would categorize godin as a direct marketing person. i meant folks in the lester wunderman category. think about it. if you wanted to name leaders in the ad community, the list of past and present innovators would be endless and easy to generate. now try doing the same for direct response. don’t mean to knock it, as the category is important and profitable. but that particular section of our industry remains oddly anonymous.

  5. Oh man, do not let Bob Bly hear you say that. He’s written books and stuff.

  6. again, don’t misread my statements. direct response is an imprtant and growing industry. i have no doubt that there are innovators in the segment. but let’s try to list them.
    draft. wunderman. bly. stone. ummmmmm… ron popeil?