MARKETING: DIRECT MAIL VS EMAIL
Over the years, the consumer preference has evolved significantly. Most consumers now prefer a more convenient way of getting their facts and advertising material. Gone were the days that only print and mass media are the only ways of getting effective means of communicating to consumers.
The consumer preference may have changed over the years due to the internet and email, but it may surprise you that customers still prefer a more traditional way of obtaining advertising material – through direct mail.
According to some studies, most consumers today still prefer direct mail over email when it comes to advertising material. 6 out of 10 North Americans prefer getting offers from companies in the form of brochures and colourful hard-copied material than getting a soft copy of the same material through email. Despite being an expensive way of brand communicating, direct mail advertising remains as the top choice for consumers, and is by far getting more attention than emails.
The trust factor
The digital age is not at a loss when it comes to brand advertising. In fact, it is now used more than ever in brand research. According to a 2013 research, 10% of North American households used Facebook to research products and services. Even so, over a third of North American households don’t find ads on social networking useful. The studies suggest that the trust factor in social media goes down as soon as an outright advertising is used.
The same phenomenon can be seen in emails as well. Even if the advertising emails have successfully passed through an email provider’s spam filters, there is still a diminished chance for the advertising email to get a genuine attention from its recipient compared to a personal email. It is possible that this phenomenon can be explained by an email user’s vigilance towards malicious content that goes back to the heyday of email malware. The studies suggest that if a consumer receives an email, regardless if it is for advertising or other matters, as long as the sender is a stranger to the recipient, there are fewer odds for the recipient to open the email. The trust factor goes up especially if the consumer has knowledge of the sender- e.g. the consumer has signed up for a newsletter. The same response can be seen from direct mail recipients. Direct Mail recipients prefer addressed mail compared to unaddressed mail. These studies show that anything anonymous in advertising and marketing is suspicious.
The results of these studies only show that the marketers should recognize what their target market’s preference is. Building a marketing campaign starts from building relationships between the marketer and the consumer by establishing trust with tangible, trusted channels like print media and direct mail. Being a trusted brand doesn’t result from sending a swarm of emails and hoping something sticks. Being a trusted brand starts with a consistent, trusting consumer base and eventually grows because of its reputation of being trusted. After all, the best marketing tool that a marketer has is a happy and satisfied customer.