Cancel the funeral. Direct Mail is alive and well. A new Epsilon study finds that both Americans and Canadians trust and prefer direct mail over the Internet and e-mail for sensitive information such as sensitive health treatments for specific conditions, financial services, mail order shopping, prescriptions, and a host of other services.

Consumers’ Rationale for Trusting and Preferring Direct Mail

The researchers surveyed 1,991 American and 3,816 Canadian consumers. And the majority agrees with the following statement:

  • I get a lot of email that I just don’t open
  •  I am getting more email now versus a year ago
  •  I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products
  •  I enjoy checking the mailbox for postal mail

Of the almost 2000 Americans, 73% agree that they don’t open a lot of their emails; and 70% have gotten more emails in the past year than in the previous year. Further, 62% of Americans and 63% of Canadians enjoy checking the mailbox for postal mail.

Consumers have many reasons for preferring and trusting direct mail. Some have a connection to postal mail, looking forward to the daily ritual of checking the mailbox.

For 73%, the primary reason for trusting and preferring postal mail is that they can read the information when it is convenient for them. 61% like being able to refer back to the information.

Most Trusted And Least Trusted Sources of Information

According to the Epsilon research, the most trusted sources of information are doctors and nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers, and friends or family, respectively.

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are the least trusted, even among people with online accounts.

Our research showed consumers value postal mail when learning about household products and they are becoming more emotionally connected to direct mail year after year. Consumers may like receiving postal mail because they are getting more emails than ever.

The research shows differences between men and women as to how they like to receive information. For example, women prefer to be educated about products and services with direct mail. With men, it’s the opposite; they prefer to get information through email. But they, too, trust direct mail as more reliable.

In fact, this finding corroborates earlier research conducted by the United States Postal Service, which found a similar trend: 58% of Gen Xers and 66% of Gen Yers preferred mailed bills to manage finances. The reason for this was that they perceived online bills as difficult to deal with and less secure.

The take away here is that when it comes to sensitive materials like financial services, health, and insurance services, people trust and prefer direct mail to any other channel.

Therefore marketers must recognize which content is appropriate for a particular channel. And it’s not just the channel, but also the quality of the content and its relevancy to different segments.

As for location marketing, in which marketers send offers to customers’ smartphones after they visit a store, consumers aren’t ready to jump on that bandwagon. An astounding 80% of respondents don’t want to be reached that way.

Mobile marketing is still new, compared to direct mail, and marketers must integrate offline and online.

Marketers who rely solely on one channel and don’t integrate might find themselves at a distinct disadvantage. Whether traditional mail or Internet marketing, it’s important that the message is relevant and of good quality.


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