Did You Know… Consumers Prefer Direct Mail Marketing?

5193089_sIt’s true!

According to an Epsilon 2011 Channel Targeting Study, consumers prefer receiving marketing messages from brands via direct mail.

The research shows that even though direct mail has the reputation for being costly and perhaps a bit stodgy, it is the preferred channel in just about every category — from health to household products and services, insurance to financial services — and the top choice even among 18-35 year olds!

Key findings are eye-opening

The study, which is based on surveys from 2,226  U.S. consumers revealed:

  • 50% of respondent pay more attention to postal mail than email
  • 60% enjoy checking the mailbox for postal mail, highlighting an emotional connection
  • 26% view direct mail as more trustworthy than email

Social media and blogs are seen as the least trustworthy channels, achieving only 6% trust among U.S. consumers.

Good news for marketers

These survey findings are crucial, because they present clear directives to marketers who may be in a quandary as to how to best allocate their marketing budgets and resources in today’s cluttered, multi-channel universe. The survey results also reinforce the notion that consumers prefer marketing materials that are tangible so they can refer to them again and again…pass them along to others…tote them in a purse, pocket or briefcase or set them aside for more in-depth consideration later.

Results obtained via direct mail are solid, measurable and reliable.

The learning derived from direct mail efforts can be readily applied to future campaigns. Best of all, direct mail done right almost always delivers a positive return on investment.

Our study suggests that brands should use a variety of mediums to build relationships, starting with trusted channels like direct mail, then layering the message to reinforce it through other channels,” said Warren Storey, Senior Vice President of Product Marketing and Insight at Epsilon.

“Consumers use and trust certain communications channels more than others. This means that marketers need to understand which channels resonate most at various points in the consumer purchase cycle. (Then) incorporate a cross-channel strategy that leverages data and technology to communicate on a one-to-one basis,” Storey added.

Pay attention to changing consumer preferences 

The 2011 Channel Preference Study also found that fewer respondents indicated that reading email is faster (45 percent, down from 47 percent in 2010) which suggests that email boxes are overloaded and reading email is perceived as a time waster.

In addition, 30 percent of  U.S. consumers stated they are receiving more mail that interests them compared to a year ago. Just 50 percent—down from 63 percent in 2010—said they were getting more information in the mail, which points to the fact that marketers are getting better at targeting their markets.

As for TV, just 37% use TV daily to get consumer product information, down from 43% in 2010.

“The key learning from this study is that marketers should recognize consumer preferences and establish a trustworthy relationship across a variety of channels,” said Storey. “Consumers appreciate brands that pay attention to their interests and stated preferences.”

Marketers who stay on top of changing consumer preferences and regularly tweak their marketing programs to incorporate new trend data will likely see better results from their campaigns and higher ROI.

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