دانلود مقاله ISI انگلیسی شماره 23429
عنوان فارسی مقاله

باز کردن و رفتار خواندن پست مستقیم تجارت بنگاه به بنگاه

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
23429 2000 13 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
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عنوان انگلیسی
The Opening and Reading Behavior of Business-to-Business Direct Mail
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 29, Issue 2, March 2000, Pages 133–145

کلمات کلیدی
- رفتار خواندن - پست مستقیم - تجارت بنگاه به بنگاه
پیش نمایش مقاله
پیش نمایش مقاله باز کردن و رفتار خواندن پست مستقیم تجارت بنگاه به بنگاه

چکیده انگلیسی

Companies who are able to optimize their target audience's opening and reading behavior of commercial business-to-business mailings realize two objectives at the same time: increase response rates of these mailings and lift the level of exposure of their company, its products, and/or services. However, little is known about the way in which managers open and read direct mail pieces that are received at their offices. This study investigates the antecedents of and relationships between direct mail opening, reading, and response behavior in a business-to-business context and reports the results of a field experiment in which 60 Belgian managers participated. The study shows that manipulating envelope characteristics is the most effective way to influence business-to-business direct mail opening behavior. Segmenting and targeting appear to be key success factors for stimulating reading and response behavior. Mailing content characteristics were not related significantly to reading behavior, nor did mail pressure affect opening behavior.

مقدمه انگلیسی

Over the last decade, business-to-business markets have evolved significantly: they became increasingly turbulent, highly competitive, and more fragmented, and in many businesses sales stagnated. Today, industrial sellers are confronted with increasing costs, changing customer demands, and a trend of supplier base reduction 1 and 2. Considering these developments, companies are looking for more cost-efficient sales methods. In this article, we focus on direct mail as an alternative cost-efficient sales (support) method that can be used in a business-to-business environment. Since the direct mail communication process shares several characteristics with the personal selling process [3], direct mail can make significant contributions to each phase in the business-to-business sales process. Direct mail can supplement or even take over outside sales representatives' tasks of awareness building, image enhancement, lead generation, selling, closing, after-sales, and customer management 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. This allows sales representatives to concentrate their efforts at the most important customers and to spend less time on nonselling activities 1, 10, 11 and 12. The direct mail communication process generally is evaluated on basis of direct mail response rates. However, response rates provide us only with a partial picture on the total communication effects of direct mail. Vögele [3] stated that the direct mail receiver needs to pass through several stages before response actually occurs: receiving the mailing, opening the mailing, looking at the mailing (referred to as the “first dialogue”), reading (parts of) the mailing (“second dialogue”), and ultimately responding to the mailing. While during the first dialogue, mail receivers limit themselves to briefly looking at the various elements in the mailing, the second dialogue is characterized by the fact that mail receivers actually read text (parts) in the mailing. Figure 1 relates the phases of the direct mail communication process to their potential contribution to the sales process. While response behavior only contributes to the sales cycle phases of lead generation (gathering market information, identifying and qualifying prospects, making sales appointments), and selling/closing (strengthening planned sales visits and selling directly), improvements in opening and reading behavior can increase awareness, enhance company image, stimulate after-sales (cross-selling, upgrading, and repeat buying), and optimize customer management (keeping in contact with customers and increasing customer satisfaction). Unfortunately, the mail receiver's opening and reading behavior is a “black box” to the mail sender. Little is known about the “invisible” opening and reading process of business-to-business direct mail and its determinants. In the next section, we discuss the existing literature on business-to-business direct mail effectiveness.

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

Earlier research confirms our finding that opening behavior is influenced by the attractiveness of the envelope 19, 20 and 21. Three envelope characteristics were significantly related to opening behavior: envelope size, envelope material, and type of postage. Previous academic research on the effects of envelope size, envelope material, and type of postage provided mixed results. In their literature review, Conant et al. [35] reported mixed results for the impact of the type of postage on mail survey response rates. In a consumer context, the study of James and Li [28] revealed that direct marketing practitioners are more likely to agree that a direct mail piece stands a good chance of being opened if the envelope is official looking and is oversized rather than regular size. In this study, normal-sized paper envelopes appeared to be opened most easily. Moreover, stamped envelopes had a higher chance of being opened. Direct marketing practitioners often claim that unusual-sized envelopes composed of unusual materials are needed in order to “lift” response 3 and 20. Their view clearly contradicts our findings. It seems that, in a business-to-business context, commercial envelopes that resemble business correspondence envelopes have a higher chance of being opened. Second, earlier research stating that opening behavior is influenced by the volume of direct mail received is not supported 19, 20 and 21. We discovered no significant differences in the percentage of mailings opened between managers who receive a lot of mailings and managers who receive few mailings. While previous studies were focused on consumer mailings, this study investigated the impact of direct mail volume on opening behavior in a business-to-business context. As a result, the difference in results might be explained by this contextual difference. Third, while previous studies have shown strong relationships between response behavior and mailing characteristics, our study revealed that this is not the case for reading behavior. Since we might expect the characteristics of the reading material (mailing characteristics) to be related most strongly to reading behavior, this is a counterintuitive finding. None of the letter or reply instrument characteristics showed a significant relationship with reading behavior. A potential explanation for this is the fact that the impact of multiple explanatory variables was assessed simultaneously, resulting in a lower percentage of variance explained for each variable. Cross-tabulation results revealed that reading behavior was affected significantly by letter presence, letter personalization, the use of marks in the letter, the number of letter sides printed on, reply instrument presence, reply instrument format, the number of feedback choices on the reply instrument, and the return method of the reply instrument. However, when combining these variables in a multivariate regression equation, none of them remained significant. Only reader characteristics were related significantly to reading behavior. Finally, our study revealed that reading behavior determines response behavior to a large extent. While managers who limit themselves to the first dialogue stage only respond to 1.1 percent of the mailings received, managers who reach the second dialogue stage show an average response rate of 5.1 percent. This is an impressive increase in response of almost 5 to 1. While this seems an obvious result, no previous research has formally investigated the relationship between reading and response behavior. Yet, it sheds a new light on research focusing on direct mail response behavior. Response levels are not only affected by their direct determinants, they are equally indirectly influenced by the determinants of direct mail reading behavior. While previous research directed most of its attention to detecting factors that directly increase response behavior, this study clearly shows that more research, which would focus on variables that indirectly influence response behavior, is needed.

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