Print in the Mix

Marketers Underestimate Consumers’ Acceptance of Direct Mail

The 2009 Marketing-GAP Tracking Study, conducted by online market research company fast.MAP and the United Kingdom’s Direct Marketing Association (DMA), shows that marketers are continuing to underestimate the percentage of consumers who welcome items of direct marketing.

• Of the 1,367 panel members (whose demographics reflect those of the United Kingdom), 51 percent expressed an interest in receiving marketing e-mails about companies they know. However, a panel of 300 marketers predicted that just 28 percent would be happy to do so.

• A further 38 percent of consumers surveyed were happy to receive printed direct mail (marketers assumed only 30 percent would).

• The study also indicates that consumers are more receptive to the direct marketing of products and services which interest them or come from trusted brands. More than nine out of 10 (95 percent) of consumers “are happy to receive” information from their favored supermarkets and stores through one or more marketing channels, and 73 percent are happy to receive information on local restaurants. However, the financial services industry didn’t fare as well, with only 27 percent of adults being happy to hear from them.

• Marketers are also failing to keep up with growing consumer awareness of data protection; the marketing expert panel expected 57 percent of consumers to always tick the “opt-out” box on marketing communications to prevent their data from being passed to a third party, when in fact 90 percent of consumers always do so.

“Although people favor e-mail, the best message for the direct mail industry in this year’s Marketing-GAP research is that, as in 2008, 86 percent of consumers opened mail packs—although in both years, 37 percent of them only opened ones from a company with which they already had a relationship,” says David Cole of fast.MAP. “Marketers underestimated people’s willingness to receive mailed promotions.”

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