Phone Marketing Draws Best Response Rates

You’re planning your operational strategy for the next couple of years, and you’re daunted by both the fierce competition out there and the variety of media available for interacting with customers. Here’s one reassuring fact: For response rates, the old-fashioned telephone beats all other media hands down. According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2004 Response Rate Report, which studied how 1,406 campaigns from 25 industries used 12 different direct response media, telephone marketing received the highest average response rate (5.78) and the top ROI index (18.2) for direct-order purchases.

Phone revenue per contact was a stunning $45.37, way ahead of the next contender, dimensional mail (mail with promotional products enclosed), with $14.16. Mail order catalogs, a staple of direct commerce, pulled in just $1.48 in revenue per contact.

The best way to generate leads was telephone marketing (5.53%), followed by dimensional mail (5.28%) and e-mail (3.39%). In driving traffic to stores, though, the phone fell to second place (5.33%) as dimensional mail pulled ahead with 10.04%. Catalogs and direct mail, long a traditional method of sending customers to stores, also did well with 4.49% and 4.04%, respectively.

The telephone’s single drawback is that its $2.50 cost per contact is by far the highest of the 12 media. The second highest CPC is that of dimensional mail, at $0.91. E-mail is among the lowest, at $0.10, and DRTV is the cheapest of all, at $0.03.

For more information or to order the DMA report, call (800) 344-8328 or visit

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