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Consumer study reveals ‘direct mail matters’ in connected world


New research into consumers’ attitudes to brands’ printed marketing, entitled From letterbox to inbox 2013, has revealed that 79 per cent of consumers act on direct mail immediately, demonstrating the continuing power of print. 


Supporting that finding was a 10% greater percentage who visited a brand’s website in response to direct mail than responded to an email. Similarly, nearly half those surveyed said they had retained printed items, with 17% saying they did so regularly.


The findings were part of From letterbox to inbox 2013, an attitudinal print tracking study of 1,232 UK adults conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and fast.MAP, and sponsored by HP. According to the findings, consumers regard direct mail and other printed communications as being essential to their overall experience of brands of which they’re customers or in which they’re interested. 


Respondents also highlighted the essential role direct mail plays within their lives as consumers, with 56% saying they found printed marketing to be the “most trustworthy” of media channels. 


Commenting on the findings of From letterbox to inbox 2013 Rachel Aldighieri, Director of Communications and Insight at the DMA, said:


“People continue to value direct mail and printed communications from brands, finding that it plays a seamless role within their connected worlds, offers some qualities not found in other comms and is an essential part of the overall ‘brand experience’. 


Many people today easily could choose to conduct their lives entirely online, but they don’t. For brands to market effectively in a truly connected world, they must fully recognise the role that print comms play and will continue to play for many years to come.”


In other findings, 90% say that they ‘could not imagine living without a letterbox’, compared to 94% who said they could not live without home internet access and 86% who could not live without a mobile. One in five (20%) believe that printed communications will never be replaced entirely by digital, compared to just one in 10 (9%) of people aged 55 or older. 


Lyle Rainey, European business development manager, HP, said:


“At a time where marketers are faced with an ever-expanding range of marketing channels and where increasing amounts of customer communication go online, it is important to have insight into consumers’ behaviours and requirements.  HP is supporting this research to develop insights about the respective roles of digital and printed communications, which are of great value to the industry.


David Cole, MD of fast.MAP, commenting on the report said:


“Direct mail is also twice more likely to engender trust than email. Post is also seen as more memorable and authoritative, whereas email provides the ease of response and the ability to share. We can therefore see how direct mail can then lay the foundation to make the role of email as a tool for response work much harder.”


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