Is print dead? For Automobile Dealer marketing I can address this with the last 12 print/email campaigns we performed with the Automtive ROI Maximizer (ARM) program as well as the results of hundreds of other campaigns utilizing the same behavioral data methodology. Results are based on sale matches; that is, manifest households matched to actual sales recorded in the dealer’s DMS over a 6 week period.
Please note, that behavioral data is the backbone of these direct marketing efforts. These are households who have shown by their actions over the last 30 days that they have been looking at vehicles (presumably, to purchase). For the purpose of this piece, we will call them ‘hand-raisers’.
The emails are targeted directly at these households with hand-raisers using permission-based, opt in addresses. The mail is delivered via postal routes that have the highest concentrations of households with hand-raisers. We call this method, ‘Intelligent Saturation’. This is not quite as targeted, but keeps the postal delivery price down.
The ARM campaigns typically deliver to 30,000 households. This mailing is a large, 22”x26” front and back, color piece. The emails are permission based, opt in and are delivered to 50,000 households at two different times for a total of 100,000 exposures.
With all of that as background, the number of sales matched from manifest to DMS over a 6 week period averages 54% from the mail and 46% from the email.
We need to break these numbers down before we can get into cost efficiencies:
The open rates of the emails are between 5% and 10% on these campaigns (the average email blast to non-opt in is ½%. So, if 5% of the emails are opened, that is 5,000 households who have seen the message. If 10% are opened, 10,000 households have seen the message. If you were using email to market without the behavioral and opt-in methodology, you would be looking at about 500 ‘opens’.
In the case of the Intelligent saturation (postal), we don’t have the luxury of monitoring the actual open rate, so we have to make some educated assumptions. Typically, 15% of households at any given time have at least one person who has been looking at vehicles (presumably to buy). Don’t confuse this with the actual buy rate which is far lower. Some of these people take years to buy, months to buy or just weeks or days. Many of these households remain on the ‘hand-raiser’ list for several months as a result. Looking and buying are two different things.
With Intelligent saturation, we can presume that 23% to 27% of the households have such a hand-raiser because of the methodology we are employing to only mail to the high concentration postal routes. Therefore, if we mail 30,000, we can assume between 6,900 and 8,100 ‘opens’.
Now that we have determined the actual viewing audience to our email and postal prospects, we can state that on email, it’s 5,000 to 10,000 households; with postal it’s 6,900 to 8,100.
The pricing of the ARM program can be broken down to 72% of the cost is the mail portion and 28% is the email portion. The mail costs are about 2 ½ times the cost of the emails, but the mail produces 54% of the sales.
Some may conclude that the mail (printed) portion of these campaigns is not cost-effective. However, it is important to note several factors:
- Some people will only respond to the printed piece
- The printed piece has a much higher deliverability rate than the email (hand-raisers who actually look at it).
- Hundreds of campaigns run by an associated company that rely entirely on the email delivery, typically have considerably lower number of overall sale matches. This would indicate the importance of the first two factors.
- If you are using direct marketing as a key element in your marketing plan, you want to throw out a net that catches the most fish.
When properly targeted, both email and postal can be extremely effective. You pay more for the printed postal, but you have a better chance that it will be seen and responded to. No, print is not dead; it needs to be incorporated with other delivery methods.