Stat of the Month: Financial Services
You don't need to scratch your chin very long to realize how much the financial services sector has altered over the past three years. Despite a slight surge in credit card mailings in October, the direct mail sent by financial services is barely recognizable in size or scope compared to the heydays of 2004 and 2005.
Analyzing the third quarters (July through September) only, the changes are dramatic when comparing 2007, 2008 and 2009 in our Who's Mailing What! Archive, the most complete library of direct mail. Notably, the financial services sector—comprising credit card, mortgage and loan offers, along with investment and banking offers—is now much less dominant in the mailstream. In 2007, financial services took up 12.9 percent of the mailstream, slipping to 10.6 percent in 2008 and dropping further down to 7.2 percent in the third quarter of this year—that amounts to a staggering 44.2 percent drop in three years.
Otherwise, all other statistics demonstrate that the financial services sector isn't just changing in volume, but also revamping more direct mail efforts than usual. Control mailings were at 44.5 percent of all financial efforts during the third quarter of last year, but they dropped by 25.6 percent in this year's third quarter, as new creative is going out the door fast and furious. Apparently, the new creative includes new formats, as the self-mailer format has exploded in financial services, representing a full one-fifth of all financial efforts in the third quarter of 2009—that's a 43.5 percent rise since 2007.
Also, still looking at third quarters, in an attempt to lure new customers, far more premiums are being employed. Premium usage is up to 42.8 percent of all financial efforts, a rise of 22.4 percent from 2007. Personalization, meanwhile, has slowed somewhat, perhaps in an attempt to stem cost. Still very common in most financial mail at 73.8 percent, it's slipped by 4.5 percent since 2007.