IRVING, TX – A marketing services company has published a consumer preferences report which reveals that most consumers prefer direct mail over electronic media for most categories of product or service brands.

The 2011 Channel Preference Study is entitled, “The Formula For Success: Preference and Trust” and was undertaken by Epsilon Data Management LLC headquartered in Irving, TX about 30 miles northeast of Fort Worth and about 20 miles northwest of Dallas.

The report focuses on various categories of product and service brands and the different marketing channels used to reach customers. The most effective and trustworthy marketing channel for most product or service category turns out to be direct mail.

The marketing study was conducted in August 2011 and explored several categories of product and service brands and the channels used in promotional campaigns to find customers.

Mailing list managers should take note of these findings and use them in their marketing campaigns. A prudent use of mailing lists in direct mail marketing in combination with other social media and website marketing can take into account the conclusions of the study and make use of it for profitable results.

The study revealed direct mail to be the most effective and trustworthy marketing channel for most product or service categories. This study was done on a representative sampling of U.S. and Canadian consumers, 2,226 from the U.S. and 2,574 from Canada. The report was then compiled from the completed responses from an online survey.

Product and Service Categories

The report is interesting in that it rates consumer preference for direct mail vs. email for a number of product or service categories:

  • Charitable causes / donations
  • Cleaning product
  • Financial services
  • Food product
  • General health
  • Hobbies or interests
  • Household services
  • Insurance
  • Mail order shopping
  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Personal care
  • Prescription
  • Retail information
  • Sensitive health
  • Travel

It is interesting that consumers prefer direct mail over email in every category, although some more than others. These results shed much needed light on how best to proceed with a direct mail marketing campaign and provides industry specific insight into the minds and buying habits of customers.

Too Much Email

One of the important findings of the study is that there is a general sense that customers receive too much email and, thus, an offer can get lost in a sea of email that arrives in one’s inbox on a daily basis. As a result, consumers are happier to receive a direct mail piece instead of an email.

Trust is Also an Issue

The trustworthiness of a promotional item is a key factor in whether or not a consumer would act on an offer. For example, there a lot of financial scams that flood the email marketing channel and this has a definite impact on whether or not the consumer will trust offers for financial services that are promoted via email. That is just one example.

The report also explores social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. People are much less likely to believe or trust information they read about from these websites than they would from television, newspapers or company websites. In the U.S. 8 percent of consumers would trust what they read in Facebook and 6 percent would trust Twitter as compared to 21 percent for newspapers or company websites and 15 percent for television.

Reasons Why Customers Prefer Direct Mail

The study tells why the results favor direct mail and mailing list marketing over email and social media marketing. In the report, consumers expressed their reasons for preferring direct mail:

  • 32 percent say that they already get too much email
  • 24 percent say that a lot of online information can’t be trusted
  • 37 percent say the main reason for preferring direct mail over email is that it is more private
  • 50 percent say that they would pay more attention to information received by postal mail than by email
  • 60 percent simply say that they enjoy checking their mailbox for postal mail

It is revealing that privacy was a significant concern to consumers and today’s Internet is fraught with privacy problems, as witnessed by Facebook’s recent settlement with the FTC over privacy complaints.

The report can be downloaded for free from this link.

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