Direct Mail More Likely to be Opened Than Unsolicited Email

As the founder of an email stationery company, inboxFX Communications, I must be nuts to publish the results of a survey by International Communications Research, that doesn’t shed the best light on email, but as a marketing guy who loves direct mail I think a balanced approach is important. Besides, email stationery is important for everything else.

The survey commissioned by Pitney Bowes, (what interest would they have in direct mail being superior?) found that 73 percent of consumers prefer mail for receiving new product announcements or offers from companies they do business with, as compared to 18 percent for e-mail. Mail was also preferred by 70 percent of respondents for receiving unsolicited information on products and services from companies with which they are not currently doing business.

Postage Machine

(I’m told this is a postage machine)

For confidential communications such as bills, bank statements and financial reports, 86 percent of respondents preferred mail as their channel of choice, as compared with 10 percent for e-mail, identical to the response in the 2004 survey, which also showed consumer preference for mail at 86 percent.

This is tempered by a recent survey conducted in January 2007 by Harris Interactive and The Marketing Workshop that finds for the first time, consumers in Internet-connected households are paying more of their household bills online than by check. They also reported the volume of electronic bill payments reached 39%; with bill payments by check declining to 34%. A record 74 Percent of U.S. online households pay at least one bill online..but I digress,

Stacy DeWalt, vice president, Vertical Market Development and Marketing, Pitney Bowes Management Services, said “The research… shows that consumers still prefer mail over e-mail… we continue to find that mail is the most effective marketing tool businesses can use when communicating with their customers.”

The survey also found that 31 percent of consumers are less likely to discard unopened mail, including new product brochures, catalogs or other advertising materials, while 53.2 percent are likely to discard unsolicited e-mails about new products.

Email Invoice

(Invoice sent via email)

Specific advantages consumers see in mail versus unsolicited e-mail and telephone calls, according to the report, compared with other communications channels, survey respondents found mail to be:

Less intrusive… doesn’t interrupt other activities (45.3 percent)
More convenient… can be saved and considered at leisure (40.2 percent)
Less high-pressured… lets you consider your decision (30.2 percent)
More descriptive… lets you picture the offer (22.7 percent)
More persuasive… encourages you to respond (12 percent)

One Comment Add yours

  1. Steve Renner says:

    Whether direct mail is more effective is an interesting question. Thanks for sharing these insignts.

    Steve Renner

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