Stat of the Month: Continuity & Clubs
Consumption is down across the board due to the recession, so you'd expect to see the same among direct mail consumers of books, music, movies, cosmetics, food and alcohol. Therefore, for these continuity series and clubs sectors, the need to revamp, or at least revise, their direct mail campaigns has never been more keen. All in the effort to retain current customers who may want to spend less, while reaching out to stingier prospects.
Diving into the Who's Mailing What! Archive—comparing the first five months of this year to previous calendar years—reveals that some serious revising is going on. First of all, the share of the mailstream taken up by the continuity series and clubs sectors increased, so far, this year to 2.4 percent-the highest it's been in over three years. That's a 21 percent increase from last year, when the percentage was the lowest it's been for these sectors.
The other most statistically significant trend is the continuous drop seen in repeat mail, as the first five months of 2009 recorded the lowest percentage of controls ever for the continuity series and clubs sectors. Indeed, after controls posted a high of nearly half (49.2 percent) of continuity and clubs efforts in 2004, the percentage dropped by a little in 2005 and 2006, before plummeting to 37.9 percent in 2007. This year it sunk all the way to 34.7 percent.
But while the need to experiment with new mailers makes sense in today's rough climate, so does the effort to control costs. Therefore, fewer premiums are being offered this year, as the percentage of premium offers in continuity series and clubs mail dropped by 12 percent since last year alone and now accounts for a little over half of the efforts. The self-mailer format is, conversely, on the upswing, perhaps reflecting some mailers going to a cheaper format. Its use sunk several percentage points into the mid-30s last year from its mid-40s levels in 2006-2007, before climbing back into the 40s this year.