More than half of all UK marketing expenditure is now channelled into ads or mailings carrying a response mechanism -- but although consumers are taking the bait marketers are failing to reel in their catch.

This is the finding of a recent survey by Response Direct Publishing, a consumer lead specialist. Companies are losing out on sales conversions because a staggering 75% fail to fulfil responses within two weeks.

The quality of direct mail is also a customer turn-off. The standard of presentation was rated 'slightly or very disappointing' in 40% of cases, while 43% of direct mail content was similarly rated.

Customers favour the personal touch, which 50% of companies fail to deliver. With good manners [and good marketing] sadly lacking, covering letters are frequently omitted from the mailings while consumers are often addressed impersonally as "Dear Customer" rather than by name.

According to RDP's executive creative and marketing director Peter Webb: "It is the worst possible combination -- no recognition of the fact that information has been requested, coupled with a delay in receiving the details, makes it, in effect, another cold mailing."

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff