Magazine article Marketing

Top 25 Mailers

Magazine article Marketing

Top 25 Mailers

Article excerpt

Financial services giant MBNA remains top of the pile for direct mail spend and the medium is flourishing.

It's official: the direct mail sector is booming. The medium's top 25 users increased their spend by a staggering 43.7% in 2003 to pounds 536.9m, according to Nielsen Media Research - almost twice the amount the top 100 advertisers spent on radio in the same period.

David Robottom, director of industry development and postal affairs at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), says there are two principal reasons for the sharp rise.

'One is the classic argument that direct mail is a very targeted, effective, one-to-one medium that works well with other media, such as TV and the web, so can be used as a media multiplier,' he says.

'The other factor is that over the past year, the DMA has worked with (environmental organisation) Planet Ark and the government on a waste strategy for direct mail, which means consumers can now get rid of their direct mail waste in an environmentally friendly way. This led to positive industry exposure among consumers and had a beneficial effect for the medium among clients.'

The results from this, Marketing's first list of the top direct mailers, make impressive reading, and suggest the economic downturn that has blighted the marketing industry for the past two years has finally abated.

Mail dominance

Mail continues to be the robust channel of choice for direct marketing activity. According to Thomson Intermedia research carried out last summer for Marketing's sister title Marketing Direct, of the direct channels surveyed (mail, inserts - including press - door-drops, web and outdoor), mail emerged as the biggest. Fifty six per cent of the top 100 mailers' total direct marketing spend went on mail, up 5% on 2001.

Fourteen of the top 25 mailers increased their spend by 50% or more, including six that boosted their direct mail spend by more than 100%.

The biggest increase, at 635.2%, came from Barclays. It entered the second phase of its 'Fluent in Finance' campaign last April and continues to promote services such as life insurance, pensions and investments via direct mail.

Online credit broker Loans.co.uk had the second-biggest rise (219.1%)

Last November it hired Drayton Bird to advise on its marketing strategy.

The direct marketing guru will work in conjunction with the firm's marketing agency, Iceberg. In 2002, Bird advised Loans.co.uk on how to improve its direct marketing.

It comes as no surprise that the top 25 mailers are dominated by financial services companies - 15 fall into the category. They are led by the king of direct mail, MBNA, which increased its spend in 2003 by 36% to pounds 66m, putting it on a par with advertisers such as Nestle, which spent pounds 68.7m on above-the-line advertising in 2003.

Capital gains

MBNA International was the first US credit card marketer to set up in the UK, in 1993, and it remains pre-eminent on these shores. Its UK direct mail spend is pounds 23.4m ahead of rival Capital One, which comes second in the table with a pounds 42.5m spend in 2003, following an 84% increase.

The credit card firm, also based in the US, uses a mix of TV and direct mail to entice UK consumers away from established rivals such as Barclaycard. …

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