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Direct Mail Wins The “Trust” Battle

Which channel do you think your customers trust more? Direct mail or email? When it comes to trust, the answer is direct mail – and it wins hands down.

According to a study from Epsilon, “The Formula for Success: Preference and Trust,” more than one-quarter of U.S. consumers (26%) say they find direct mail to be more trustworthy than email. Half (50%) say they give direct mail more attention.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Epsilon’s data is consistent with research that has been coming out of the industry for years.

Despite direct mail’s reputation for being “old school” or expensive, consumers continue to embrace direct mail. In fact, according the Epsilon’s research, direct mail is consumers’ top choice for receiving brand communications in almost every category, from health to household products and household services, to insurance and financial services, including credit card offers.

This preference extends to a surprising demographic: 18-34 year olds. Even younger consumers prefer direct mail over email.

Even in this world of electronic communications, Epsilon’s research continues to add to the compelling volume of similar research that comes to similar conclusions. Direct mail has power. Consumers see print as more trustworthy, more compelling and more reliable than the world of ubiquitous email.

Want to increase the power of direct mail even more? There are several steps you can take.

First, you can divide your mailings into demographic segments. This enables you to target content to the specific needs and preferences of different customer groups. By increasing the relevance of the message to your recipients, you increase the chances they will respond. Once you’ve done that, you can layer on data-driven personalization (optional) based on what you know about recipients from your database.

Don’t have a database for targeting and personalization? No problem. You can purchase high-quality data very cost effectively using any of the major list providers.

So want your customers to listen closely? Start with direct mail. Target it. Print it. Send it!

Here are some other results from the study that ought to make business owners cheer:

  • 36% of consumers said direct mail is their preferred channel to receive financial services information;
  • 26% said direct mail is more trustworthy than email;
  • 50% said they pay more attention to postal mail than email;
  • 60% said they enjoy checking the mailbox for postal mail;
  • 30% said they’re receiving more mail than interests them compared to one year ago; and
  • Only 50% (down from 63% in 2010) said their mail volumes are increasing, indicating that markets are improving their targeting efforts.
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