The Effect of Mailing Design Characteristics on Direct Mail Campaign Performance

International Journal of Research in Marketing, 30(2), (2013) (Forthcoming)

53 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2012

See all articles by Sebastian Feld

Sebastian Feld

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Heiko Frenzen

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Manfred Krafft

University of Muenster

Kay Peters

University of Hamburg - Institute for Marketing and Media; Hamburg Center for Health Economics; UC Davis, GSM

Peter C. Verhoef

University of Groningen - Department of Marketing & Marketing Research

Date Written: July 1, 2012

Abstract

Designing effective direct mail pieces is considered a key success factor in direct marketing. However, related published empirical research is scarce while design recommendations are manifold and often conflicting. Compared with prior work, our study aims to provide more elaborate and empirically validated findings for the effects of direct mail design characteristics by analyzing 677 direct mail campaigns from non-profit organizations and financial service providers. We investigate the effects of (1) various envelope characteristics and observable cues on opening rates, and (2) characteristics of the envelope content on the keeping rates of direct mail campaigns. We show that visual design elements on the outer envelope – rather than sender-related details – are the predominant drivers of opening rates. Factors such as letter length, provision of sender information in the letter, and personalization positively influence the keeping rate. We also observe that opening and keeping rates are uncorrelated at the campaign level, implying that opening direct mail pieces is only a necessary condition for responding to offers, but not per se a driver of direct mail response.

Keywords: Advertising, Consumer Behavior, Direct Marketing, Information Processing, Content Analysis, Market Analysis and Response, Intermediate Communication Measures, Non-Profit Organizations, Financial Services

Suggested Citation

Feld, Sebastian and Frenzen, Heiko and Krafft, Manfred and Peters, Kay and Verhoef, Peter C., The Effect of Mailing Design Characteristics on Direct Mail Campaign Performance (July 1, 2012). International Journal of Research in Marketing, 30(2), (2013) (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2156291

Sebastian Feld

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Heiko Frenzen

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Manfred Krafft

University of Muenster ( email )

Am Stadtgraben 13-15
Muenster, D-48143
Germany
+49 251 8325025 (Phone)
+49 251 8325025 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.marketingcenter.de/ifm

Kay Peters (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Institute for Marketing and Media ( email )

Welckerstrasse 8
Hamburg, 20354
Germany

Hamburg Center for Health Economics ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 5
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

UC Davis, GSM ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Peter C. Verhoef

University of Groningen - Department of Marketing & Marketing Research ( email )

Netherlands

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