Mark Buckman, CMO of the Commonwealth Bank, has taken aim at the direct marketing industry.

Buckman criticised the industry view that a 2% response rate was a great result, pointing out a recent Commonwealth Bank direct marketing campaign had enjoyed a 20% response rate. He said a 98% non-response rate was not good enough for the Commonwealth Bank and it shouldn’t be good enough for other clients.

According to the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia, marketers spent approximately $3.2 billion on direct mail, catalogues and promotional letters in 2007. The Commonwealth Bank alone spends about $30 million annually on direct mail.

Buckman continued saying, “Most direct marketing is junk. It’s dumb because it’s lazy marketing, it’s void of data insights and has no clear targeting, no clear offer, and no real reason for customers to take those offers up because often it doesn’t reflect what the brand stands for.”

He also quoted statistics stating an average of only 2.8% of direct mail produces a result, meaning direct marketers send out 36 pieces of mail for every response. Buckman told the audience that if data and targeting aren’t embraced, many will not be sitting at ADMA 2013.

Agreeing with his sentiments, head of Euro RSCG, Paul Bennett said, There is quite a lot of inertia in clients and the current recession is highlighting the need to be more measurable. Lets face it, in an environment of plenty measurability was important but not crucial.”