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Cover Story : Top 50 Mailers

The eighth annual listing of top mailers as measured by volume

September 2013 By Ethan Boldt
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Welcome to the brand new list of Target Marketing's Top 50 Mailers. For the first time, we are relying exclusively on data from our partner Who's Mailing What! in compiling this list, as well as the other lists in this article, combined with list management information provided by SRDS. Who's Mailing What! has compiled the most complete library of direct mail and email in the world, and has tracked mail for more than 25 years. Earlier this year, it relaunched on a state-of-the-art, fully searchable platform (see the Methodology factbox below for more information).

Simply put, this year's list is more of a reflection of the average person's mailbox, because the overall mail collection stems from literal mailboxes in seeds across the U.S. The final ranking of the chart is now based on volume rather than company revenue, and is a more accurate reflection of what's dominating the mailstream.

Want to see the full Top 50 Mailers of 2013? Download the complete list.

The Makeup of the List
In this case, we're looking at 2012 and early 2013, and right away you'll recognize some similarities to last year's Top 50 mailers, in the sense that financial service companies, nonprofits and big insurance all appear frequently in the list. (One category that also made a strong showing in 2012 was political fundraising mailings because of the presidential election, but we've removed that category because it's a one-out-of-four-year anomaly.)

But, while a similar mix is evident, the weighting of each industry sector changed quite a bit, with financial services ranking more toward the top and nonprofits sliding back a bit. Only three financial mailers showed up in the 2012 Top 50 list, but now there are six. This is consistent with banks and credit card companies again opening the loaning floodgates.

Nonprofits dropped from half the list—25 strong—to 11, yet that still represents 22 percent of the Top 50. It's important to note the numbers from the American Cancer Society—the second-ranked nonprofit mailer—are likely to take a dip in 2013, as it has largely ended its traditional direct mail acquisition program. Our sister publication, Fundraising Success, will be keeping tabs on how this strategy plays out.

Methodology

To create this comprehensive list of Top 50 Mailers, along with the Top 10 Mailers Per Industry Sector, we relied upon mailings data from Who’s Mailing What!, the world’s most complete online library of multichannel direct mail and email campaigns. It’s now housed on a brand new site at whosmailingwhat.com.

Powered by Target Marketing magazine’s publishing partner Direct Marketing IQ, WMW! provides information on hundreds of thousands of direct mail packages and promotional emails from across the U.S. markets. Updated monthly, WMW! tracks more than 200 industry categories, including: financial services, fundraising, insurance, telecom, catalogs, magazine publishing, retail, travel, automotive and much more.

The direct mail side of WMW! collects mail from seeds all across the U.S., evenly distributed from states and metropolitan markets. Data recorded includes: mailer name, company details, offer description, control mailing (if it’s been repeated in the mailstream) scans of select mailings, category, format used, size of mailing, offer type (such as retention or acquisition), use of personalization, use of premiums or freemiums, and more.

 
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