What Works Best in B2B: Direct Mail or E-Mail?

May 28th, 2008 by Bob Bly

What works best in b-to-b lead generation — direct mail or e-mail marketing?

If you’re like most people, you said “e-mail.”

But Russell Kern, CEO of his own direct marketing agency, disagrees.

In an article published in BtoB’s 2008 Lead Generation Guide, Kern cites the following results from his campaign data:

>> Prospects responding to direct mail are 10% to 20% more likely to convert to a marketing-qualified lead than their online counterparts.

>> Qualified leads generated via direct mail cost 5% to 15% less than online.

>> Field sales reps are 7% to 15% more likely to work with a DM-generated lead than an online lead.

So are all the B2B marketers who tell me “direct mail doesn’t work” bonkers?

Or is Kern making this stuff up?

Share

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 at 2:36 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

19 responses about “What Works Best in B2B: Direct Mail or E-Mail?”

  1. Dianna Huff said:

    Bob, The people who tell you B2B direct mail doesn’t work aren’t doing it properly.

  2. Bob Bly said:

    Yes, but instead of reaching that conclusion, they instead conclude that because THEIR direct mail promotion didn’t work, that ALL direct mail doesn’t work — an incredibly stupid and wholly illogical deduction.

  3. Jim Logan said:

    Easy conclusion from my experience – direct mail beats email. I’ve had some success with email, but direct mail is always the big winner between the two.

    I’ve found a professional direct mail piece is well received and earns a greater response than email – especially when dealing with business leaders and executives.

  4. Simon Smith said:

    Bob, doesn’t it depend highly on the demographics, the product and the purchase mechanism? I can see how this would be true when targeting older corporate executives with an offer for information technology purchased though a sales representative. But I doubt it would be true when targeting younger, web-savvy information technology workers with an offer for an e-book purchased through PayPal.

  5. Bob Bly said:

    SS: Of course it varies with the audience. Kern’s study is based on response data from a cross-section of marketing campaigns for the 25 or so clients his agency handles. I think the important point, however, is that it proves the claim “direct mail doesn’t work anymore” is patently wrong.

  6. Craig Hysell said:

    Fascinating. Did the article include the “why’s” as well? Just curious.

    And, as far as it concerns my business, I pay much more attention to the businesses I have given PERMISSION to contact me than I do the outside solicitations in both mediums. (Did that aspect play any role in Kern’s study?)

    If those guys are on top of the game they always get more business from me. By the way, thanks for email today Bob concerning those free interviews. I’m down.

  7. Mordechai (Morty) Schiller said:

    Bob,

    When I started doing work for CYBRA http://www.cybra.com, they told me they were getting no response from print ads and direct mail. What seems to be working best for them is optimized press releases posted on the Web. Hopefully, our new viral video series (see http://marcom-writer-blog.com/?p=240) will also get some action.

    Of course, we’re talking about high-ticket enterprise software to a niche market of IBM System i users. So it’s a complex sale, not something calling for a coupon and a check.

    Morty

  8. Dianna Huff said:

    But Morty, I would never use DM to actually sell enterprise software. I would use it in a couple of different ways to *generate leads.*

    Bob, do you have experience writing B2B sales letters that solicit sales for low cost items?

    All the B2B letters I’ve written have always been lead gen letters.

  9. andy vanakin said:

    I am in the lead management industry we have huge success with BtoB marketing.

  10. Bob Bly said:

    Andy: What type of communication gets you the best result in BtoB marketing.

    Morty: DM and e-mail both works GREAT for enterprise software lead generation. Use them to drive traffic to one of your videos.

    DH: I have had great success with B2B DM. For items under $500, it can sell the product directly via mail order. For big ticket items, we generate leads by offering free information: a mix of sales literature and free content.

  11. Brian said:

    I’ve been reading your blog schmog book lately and thought I’d drop by to see you here.
    I’ve noticed that yours’s is quite an anthropological approach which makes complete common sense.Who knows where the Blog is to go when enough people imagine it?

    I suspect you’ll be following its trajectory.

    Quiet admiration.
    Brian.

  12. Jehan Gonsalkorale said:

    I’ve started a direct mail campaign and think it’s just a great way to prepare a follow up call. For B2B you need to get a sense of context in your prospect and a letter lets them feel that they can trust you more. I wouldn’t use it for much more than that but it’s been a great help at that level.

  13. Direct Mail: It’s Alive! It’s Alive! said:

    [...] direct marketing guru Bob Bly cites a BtoB Lead Generation Guide article that shows: •    Direct mail responders are 10 – 20% more likely to convert to a [...]

  14. The Direct Marketing Voice » Email for Lead Generation? Not So Much. said:

    [...] source: http://bly.com/blog/general/what-works-best-in-b2b-direct-mail-or-e-mail/ [...]

  15. internet marketing said:

    internet marketing…

    [...]What Works Best in B2B: Direct Mail or E-Mail? – bly.com blog – bly.com direct marketing blog[...]…

  16. crm, insurance leads, live tranfer said:

    crm, insurance leads, live tranfer…

    [...]What Works Best in B2B: Direct Mail or E-Mail? – bly.com blog – bly.com direct marketing blog[...]…

  17. Get Started said:

    Whats up are using WordPress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own.

    Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  18. chainsaw trousers said:

    The chainsaw should also have a chain brake that will quickly stop the chain from moving even
    when operating at full speed. The latest incarnation follows
    a young girl as she and her friends are terrorized by a
    chainsaw-wielding killer, after she inherits a Victorian mansion in Texas.

    Petrol chainsaws are heavier, and more powerful than
    their electric cousins.

  19. Premium Bulk SMS in India said:

    Nowadays above 900 million men and women in India own a cell phone and are ready to obtain bulk SMS.

    Businesses and organisations the globe over have realised the
    large prospective of interacting with the customers, suppliers and personnel utilizing Bulk SMS.
    Bulk SMS in Indore just entails sending out big volumes
    of textual content messages and conveying the information one particular wants to convey at when.

    We at BulkSMSIndore.com constantly strive for producing the
    most of the prospective that this technology has.

    BulkSMSIndore.com is a major SMS Advertising provider service provider providing SMS conversation companies.
    The Bulk SMS in Indore gateway reaches across borders and connects
    to all Indian mobile networks.

    Bulk SMS Indore’s only motto is to supply a substantial quality
    messaging service 24X7X365 that permits the customers to speedily marketise &
    publicize their concepts, goods and organizations.

    Proven to offer provider at quite inexpensive cost in contrast to other folks,
    Bulk SMS Indore is the no.1 Bulk SMS service provider in India that offers in low cost and
    premium SMS Answers.

    We are a perfect blend of Outsourced Marketing and advertising & Affiliate Marketing and advertising which leaves our
    consumer awestruck and provides larger ranges of client delight not only gratification.

    Outsourced Marketing and advertising is at the forefront of this idea, delivering functioning
    solutions for both businesses and end customers to aid the Wireless World wide web and cell systems,
    which are springing up close to us. As our recent flagship products, our SMS
    answers are currently being utilised in many methods to push new
    enterprise versions and offer corporate remedies.

    Affiliate Marketing remains the backbone of this notion, our flexibly attentive staff performs 24X7
    toward the success of our clients’ products,
    services or thought that our customers want
    to express to their audience.

    Our position is to offer practical options close to today’s technological innovation and
    to make it foreseeable future proof and utilize new technologies as it arrives.

    Most of our options are developed in-residence, or with third party program
    integration. Simply because of this, our understanding of
    the technologies allows Outsourced Marketing and advertising & Affiliate Advertising to speedily
    and skillfully give outcomes to both firms and conclude
    consumers.

    As we discuss about our answers, we render providers via many equipment like Bulk SMS (Advertising & Transactional), Voice SMS, WhatsApp Posts,
    Limited Code, Extended Code, Mass Mail, Missed Call Inform (MCA), Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Toll Totally free Nos.
    which spans via Non-DND to DND cellular numbers to primary inbox mail delivery to direct era to comments recording to sharing the data to conduct surveys to look for marketplace expansion,
    focusing on, segmentation, differentiation & integration to eventually accomplish the increment in complete product sales.

Leave a Reply