Cover Story: The Top 50 Mailers
When Target Marketing published last September our first Top 50 listing of direct mail users by estimated volume, we wondered what the file might look like a year later. Would media budgets and circulation plans have changed so greatly that they had a significant effect on who made the Top 50 in 2007? The numbers are in and the answer is “Yes!”
Twelve new mailers are on the list, and their arrival marks some even trades for certain sectors while others further solidified their dominance. The financial services sector held its own, coming in at 14 percent of the list for the second year; with GEICO being knocked off by Discover, however, the ranking is now without representation by an insurance firm. And even with the roll-up of three publishing firms into their parent companies to create a more robust playing field, the media category still commands the list. Publishing and media firms make up 38 percent of the Top 50, an increase of nearly 6 percent. Fundraising performed similarly, also up 2 points to account for 34 percent.
An additional change to the Top 50 is in how we ranked the list. Because most companies don’t publicly disclose their annual mailing volumes, our list is an indexing based on three extensive data sources capable of predicting mail volumes. Thus, last year we sorted the list alphabetically so as not to be misleading with a volume ranking that is not based on actual, reported data. We did, however, pull in available revenue/sales data to give the list some context in terms of financial performance. At the urging of readers, we’ve used this data element as the sorting method for this year’s list. And while the top money-makers do their share of mailing and then some, for other companies large customer universes of an older age group was more predictive of volume.
What the Top 50 has demonstrated in its second year is that this ranking does reflect the current state of direct mail. Those firms continuing to invest in sophisticated database marketing and rigorous testing are reaping the rewards in the mail.
To create this list of the Top 50 Mailers, Target Marketing editors partnered with the Analytical Resources division of full-service list firm American List Counsel (ALC). The following data was weighted and indexed to create a list:
- Who’s Mailing What! Archive hits, comprised of mail patterns for more than 4,200 mailers over the course of 2006;
- ALC competitive analysis, based on publicly available list usage and number of hits; and
- ALC transactional history.
The list is not ranked by mail volume, given that the index is a prediction of volume mailed and not verified counts from the companies. Most direct marketing organizations do not report such data, nor can annual sales be relied on as any indicator of volume mailed. Annual sales figures are included in the chart, however, to provide additional insight into the success of these leading users of direct mail in the United States.
To download a PDF of The Top 50 Mailers, click here.