Direct Mail to Continue as a Preferred Channel

Marketers wring their hands over which channels to use when targeting consumers. But consumers in one new survey have told researchers the marketing channel they prefer: direct mail. And marketers may be surprised to know that it’s not just older consumers who like to find something in their physical mailboxes.

Marketers might be tempted to dismiss the direct mail channel as expensive or ‘old school’ but that would be a mistake. According to Epsilon’s Channel Preference Study, direct mail is the ‘top choice’ of consumers when it comes to receiving marketing pitches. Here’s a look at the study results which includes all ages, even 18–34 year olds:

  • Direct mail is preferred channel for financial services information: 36%
  • Direct mail is more ‘trustworthy’ than email: 26%
  • Consumers pay more attention to direct mail than email: 50%
  • Checking the mailbox is an enjoyable activity: 60%

Consumers also indicate that direct mail holds up well in comparison to other media channels. For example, 37% of U.S. consumers report getting product information from their daily TV viewing. This is down from 43% in 2011 and researchers did not address whether the drop is due to an increase in ad skipping during TV viewing sessions or whether these consumers were watching less TV. Marketers should also keep in mind that consumers pay attention to the trustworthiness of various media channels. Currently, only 6% of U.S. consumers believe that social media is a trustworthy source.

Warren Storey of Epsilon reports that, "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 re-​enforce it through other channels."

[Source: Epsilon Targeting Study shows 6% Increase. Epsilon​.com. 1 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Dec. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.