Cover Story: The Top 50 Mailers
This past March, in Target Marketing's Media Usage Forecast 2008, we noted some definite shifts in planned ad spending compared to 2007's breakout. More dollars were being shifted from print channels to online media like search engine optimization and e-mail. And now results from our third analysis of who's tops in the direct mail arena show which business verticals appear to be adopting the new multichannel mind-set more quickly than the others.
For example, at least one telecommunications firm appeared in the Top 50 the past two years. That sector is not represented in the 2008 list, which is based on 2007 data. And while the financial services sector continues to index highly for annual mail volume and revenue, its numbers decreased by one for a penetration rate of 12 percent. The lone insurance firm in the 2006 list, GEICO, was knocked off last year only to see the sector vindicated this year with Gerber Life's first appearance on the scene. Clearly, these sectors do big business in the mail, but they are balancing that investment with stronger forays into online media and cross-channel promotions.
Continuing their domination of this list are organizations in the nonprofit and publishing sectors, accounting for 38 percent and 36 percent of the Top 50, respectively. Obviously, these marketers have long histories of success with direct mail campaigns. And many that have predominantly older customers choose this channel for its effectiveness at reaching that audience. But the other side of the issue is the difficulties these sectors have been facing in the integration of new media into their marketing plans. "Publishers and nonprofits do a good job of using direct mail for targeting. They're very scientific in their calculations," states Fran Green, chief revenue strategist at ALC, the Princeton, N.J.-based lists and data marketing firm that helped develop the Top 50 list. "But they are really behind in making other channels viable for their customers. So they're almost beholden to direct mail."
To remain competitive, as well as relevant to customers and prospects, she recommends both for-profits and nonprofits adopt a less product-centric strategy. "We're seeing tremendous success from companies that combine a multichannel approach with a customer-centric focus," she explains. In addition, Green credits access to modeling and rigorous lifetime value analysis with opening new doors to profit. "The opportunities have never been better to market wisely," she affirms.
To download a PDF of The Top 50 Mailers, click here.