Target Marketing Priorities Survey: Direct Marketing Generates Best ROI

July 16, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

B2B | Email | Newspapers | Out-of-Home | Paid Search | Television

Direct mail and email generated the best return on investment among media channels in 2006, according to respondents – both B2B and consumer marketers – to a new Harte-Hanks survey administered by CSO Insights.


Among business-to-business marketers, digital marketing – email, websites and online registrations, and search – are seeing increased investments, but a “continuing struggle with data quality” is a “major roadblock to success,” the study found.

Meanwhile, consumer marketers point to a lack of data quality – currency and accuracy – as hurting marketing efforts, though marketers gave higher marks for data quality than they had in a previous survey two years ago, according to the findings of “Target Marketing Priorities Analysis: 2007 Key Trends.”


Among all media, digital media categories – with the exception of paid search – receive the highest priorities, with near-equal attention given to data analysis, among other data-related concerns.

In both B2B and consumer markets, prompt action based on data analysis is a top priority for business demand generation, the study reported.

Asked to cite the relative importance of web-based marketing programs to the overall success of target marketing, retailers selected the following, in order of importance (via InternetRetailer):

  1. Web sites and micro-sites
  2. Search optimization
  3. Email marketing
  4. Online advertising
  5. E-publishing/e-newsletters
  6. E-fulfillment
  7. Paid search
  8. Webinars
  9. Blogs

Asked which strategies were increasing the most in importance, respondents cited the following:

  1. Web-based marketing
  2. Data analysis and insight
  3. Email marketing
  4. Data-based marketing
  5. Online advertising
  6. Search marketing
  7. Data acquisition
  8. Telemarketing
  9. Direct mail
  10. Paid search
  11. Traditional media

“As companies invest more in multiple channels in a bid to acquire customers, and to retain their loyalty, it appears businesses continue to grapple with data management and data insight – and just what the metrics are saying,” said Bill Goldberg, corporate officer and senior vice-president, Harte-Hanks.

About the study: Among the respondents, 28% represented technology companies, 19% from the manufacturing sector (non-tech), 13% among services companies, 9% financial, 7% in healthcare and 5% retailers and consumer package goods companies – with a variety of other sectors (nonprofit, government, education, travel and transportation, among others) making up the other 24%. Approximately 60% of survey respondents represent B2B marketers.

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