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Direct Marketing Got Largest Share of B2B Marketing Dollars

Direct mail marketingWhile catching up on my business reading, I noticed an article by Carol Krol, senior reporter in the May 7, 2007 issue of BtoB magazine summarizing a recent research report entitled B-to-B Direct Marketing Benchmarks: From Lead Generation to Customer Retention, 2007 Edition by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

According to the research, 42.9% of business-to-business marketers’ budgets was allocated to direct response communications. Meanwhile 16.1% was spent on brand advertising and 13.7% was spent on trade shows.

What are my thoughts about these numbers? I believe B2B marketers should focus the largest portion of their budget on generating responses, leads and sales, and let brand and awareness come along for the ride.

However, if I’m correct in my belief that the folks being surveyed for this research were largely members of the DMA, and as such they have a bias towards direct response, I wonder if the percentage being earmarked for direct response isn’t actually lower across B2B marketing in general.

Carol went on to report that within the direct response category, direct mail gets the biggest share at 27.5%.

This also got my attention. Why? Because, in seems to me that a large number of business marketers are blindly in love with e-mail–even though less and less of it is getting through email filters and is actually being delivered to prospective customers–and have reduced or abandoned their use of printed direct mail.

Yet, the business marketers surveyed by the DMA, are still investing the largest share of their direct response marketing in direct mail.

Here’s what I think the reason is: Most direct marketing professionals track and measure their marketing, including counting the responses, qualified leads and sales that result. So maybe they know something that the rest of the business marketing community doesn’t: direct mail works.

There are more results quoted in Carol’s article, and the research report itself is probably worth buying.


Narrowing down the prospects list, making it as precise would require great amount of research done. Conventional methods require similar budgets allocated while outsourcing few functions would save on time and other resources. B2B marketing is one such function that could be offloaded, while expecting the same results but saving your marketing dollor.


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