Direct marketing moves towards “aspiring” audience

A shift is taking place in the direct marketing world that has direct implications for SMEs.

According to recent statistics from the Direct Mail Information Services, although direct marketing has continued to flourish, the focus of mailings has shifted away from the “traditionally lucrative” AB sections of society towards those in the DE group – the “lower aspiring and upper striving” section.

The DMIS recent report showed that expenditure on direct mail was up 5.8% to £595.6 million during January and March, while volumes rose 3.9% to 1.364 billion items.

However, mailings to the AB grouping– defined as the “sophisticated” group by marketing organisation Claritas – fell by 14.5% while mailings to the DE grouping – “aspiring” – rose by a significant 30.5% year-on-year.

According to Tim Deering, of direct marketing group Da Vinci Direct Relationships, this means that small businesses planning a direct marketing campaign (to AB sections of society and to DE sections) need to think carefully about how they profile the recipients of their mail. With the shift in emphasis to the DE group, they need to ensure that they are targeting those of “best value.”

Deering advises media companies not to spend “all the budget on one big mailing” but rather test mail both AB and DE sections of their mailing lists to find out our how accurate they are.

Over the longer term, however, he remains optimistic because “the DEs of today could be the ABs of the future” as the DE grouping is made up partly of students and young working families “working their way up in the world.”

On more general matters Deering suggests giving your audience a number of options of how to respond could improve the response to direct mail. Some may want to contact you direct by phone, some may look at your website first and others may wish to respond electronically, so it is important that all these types are catered for.

Small companies wanting to find out more about direct marketing should visit the Direct marketing Association website at

With thanks to Lloyds TSB Success4Business.

See also: Advantages and disadvantages of direct marketing for small businesses

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Direct Marketing