I believe that part of the answer lies in the quality of the customers generated from direct mail and telemarketing campaigns, versus online driven leads.
From my experience, direct response marketing generates more loyal customers. Even though initially the CPA of an Internet generated lead seems cheaper, when taking into account the longevity of the new customer, direct response generated customers might in the end be cheaper than Internet generated customer acquisitions.
According to a report published by the DMA, “direct mail has a response rate of up to 10 to 30 times that of email — and even higher when compared to online display.”
The same study shows that “from an ROI point of view, email is more cost-effective than direct mail or telemarketing” and that despite that companies still chose direct mail and telemarketing.
Integrated direct marketing is a good approach to combine the benefits from both offline and online marketing techniques. Social media, online display ads, lead generation, email marketing etc. can all complement existing direct mail and telemarketing initiatives and traditional marketing strategies.
As a seasoned direct marketer I see companies that abandoned direct mail years ago now coming back and spending more marketing dollars on traditional print advertising and direct mail efforts than before.
In my opinion direct mail will not disappear in the near future, and neither will the different facets of internet marketing. Instead I believe electronic advertising will continue to complement and aid existing traditional marketing campaigns. Cross-marketing programs will be used to enhance marketing performance and lower the average CPA.
Also, some companies are now choosing to spend more advertising dollars on direct mail, as they can now use customer modeling, data analytics, and back-end tracking to more accurately select the lists and mail pieces that have the best response rate.
In conclusion, traditional direct marketing seems to offer a more long-term reliable and proven source of leads that does not fluctuate as much as internet driven customer acquisitions. That may be one reason why companies are slowly integrating direct mail and telemarketing as well as other direct response mediums back into their marketing plans.