A new tool for pre-testing direct mail

Margaret Faulkner and Rachel Kennedy
Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, University of South Australia


Direct mail (DM) is a core marketing activity. A recent Direct Mail Industry (2006) survey found that 10% of marketing budgets are spent on direct mail, with the generated UK sales estimated to be £17bn. Royal Mail reported a 2% reduction in direct mail in 2006 but growth of 9% in the charity sector with over 130 million mail pieces sent in the last quarter of 2006 (Campanelli 2007).

As with all forms of communication, those using DM are looking to make it more effective. Testing is relevant to forecast and measure if the desired effects are achieved (Cramphorn 2004). The use of testing in DM is not new, with consultants recommending testing to prevent disasters and ensure success before mailing to an entire list (Greenfield 1994).