As we’ve met with a number of clients and new business prospects recently, many of the conversations have been remarkably similar. It seems that after experimenting with a move away from direct mail to other marketing channels, they’ve experienced a noticeable drop in response rates.
Now, I realize that may sound a little convenient coming from us. But don’t just take my word for it. This fact is spelled out very clearly in the latest 2011 Channel Preference Study from Epsilon Targeting, which was published in December (you can download it for free, but you’ll need to register). Among the key findings:
- 50% of U.S. consumers strongly or somewhat agree with the statement, “I pay more attention to information I receive by postal mail than if it was received by email.”
- 60% of U.S. consumers agree they “enjoy checking the mail box for postal mail.”
- 36% of U.S. consumers say that direct mail is the preferred channel to receive financial services information.
- 37% of U.S. consumers feel traditional mail is more private than email.
- Direct mail was more preferred than email for nearly every category in the survey (which ranged from insurance to retail to charitable causes).
We used to joke that direct mail keeps the phones ringing and cash register singing. But now we can say direct mail closes the sale – online or in person. Despite the significant role the Web and email play in multi-channel marketing, a large percentage of consumers continue to respond to mail. They always have, and they probably always will.
That’s not to say marketers should abandon email or other channels. Instead, it’s important to maximize the overall effectiveness of your marketing campaign by including the element that elicits response and is preferred by a large segment of the population: direct mail.