Direct mail may still be derided as “shit that folds” in adland but in the real world the humble mailshot is trouncing digital channels, with a new study revealing that 89% of consumers consider mail communications to be “believable”, compared to just under half (48%) feeling the same way about email.
“The Value of Mail in Uncertain Times” report is the latest study carried out for Royal Mail MarketReach by TNS. First launched in 2007, the report has tracked the changes in consumer behaviour over a ten-year period.
Between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of people stating that mail makes them “feel valued” has rocketed to 70%, compared to only 43% in 2007 and 57% in 2013. Some 70% of those surveyed also said that mail “gives them a better impression of the company”, up from 53% in 2007 and 55% in 2013.
However, the study stops short of criticising the current digital marketing landscape, despite widespread concerns over measurement, viewability, ad fraud and placement, but suggests that in the “post-truth, Internet-mediated world, it should come as no surprise that when something has been printed it is perceived to embody truth”.
It states: “In an online world, the immediacy, convenience, low cost and ‘normality’ of digital communications, combined with better use of data and new technological innovations, will continue to drive the electronic ecosystem onwards and upwards. And this can only be good news for marketers.
“However, when sensitive or confidential information needs to be communicated, mail delivers reassurance that the message is credible and secure. And in these uncertain times, that power to build trust is all the more important to organisations of every kind.”
The strategy seems designed to provide evidence of direct mail’s strengths, and get marketers to reconsider the medium, rather than expose digital’s failings.
The report concludes: “Economic forecasters suggest that uncertainty is going to be with us for a very long time. So the world of marketing needs to adapt and evolve in order to survive.
“New online channels will emerge, traditional broadcast channels won’t disappear – and the number of marketing messages received by consumers will only continue to multiply. In this new, uncertain, increasingly cluttered media landscape, ‘real world’ mail is growing in credibility and importance.
“The solid, tactile, printed nature of mail, the fact that customers can hold the communication in their hands, feel it, store it, share it, come back to it – gives mail a level of credibility and believability that few other channels can even approach.”
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