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Consumers Prefer Personalized Direct Mail

In return for business, consumers expect a level of intimacy similar to that which was enjoyed when business was more personal. In other words, consumers have a strong preference for highly personalized direct mail with messages and offers that are designed to reflect their needs and interests. At the same time, however, it appears that many marketers are falling short of these requirements. In rating the direct mail that they currently received, InfoTrends’ Future of Mail survey participants indicated that only 31% was personalized and useful. Meanwhile, 29% was personalized but not useful and 40% was neither personalized nor useful.

Figure: Nature of Direct Mail Received
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Today’s consumers are bombarded with promotional messages, so marketers must find a way to break through this clutter. InfoTrends’ recently completed Future of Mail study determined that the most important aspect of communication is understanding what consumers want. Consumers continue to have a high preference for direct mail over other forms of direct marketing—61% of consumers preferred direct mail, while only 21% preferred e-mail, which was the second most preferred form of direct marketing. This preference can be attributed to the fact that paper-based communications are minimally intrusive and easily managed.

Consumers had a high preference for highly personalized direct mail with messages and offers that were designed to reflect their needs and interests (56%). In return for business, consumers expect a level of intimacy similar to that which was enjoyed when business was more personal. The goal is to utilize technology to generate information that is of genuine interest to the recipient.

Figure: Preferred Type of Hard Copy Direct Mail
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In rating the direct mail they currently received, respondents indicated that only 31% was personalized and useful. Meanwhile, 29% was personalized but not very useful and 40% was neither personalized nor useful.

The key message is that consumers want customized communications that reflect the relationship that they have with the supplier of the goods and services being offered.

There is also an opportunity to adjust the marketing mix to meet consumer preferences.