Positively Printed Mail: Responses to Mail at Every Life Stage | DMA

Filter By

Show All

Connect to


Positively Printed Mail: Responses to Mail at Every Life Stage


In such a fast paced and digitally innovative world we have become completely disengaged with printed mail, right? This common assumption has been readily thrown back and forward in recent years as we spend most days glued to a laptop, only to pry our eyes away for a brief moment to check our smart phones and tablets that have seemingly become an electronic extension of our hands and fingers. However, in a recent report conducted by the Royal Mail Market Reach, the notion that traditional mail has become redundant is effectively thrown out of the window. They make it clear that although people in different life stages respond and interact with mail differently, they all do so in a positive and ultimately valuable way.

As one may expect, young ‘Fledglings’ and ‘Sharers’ have a habit of responding to mail via digital channels, making it important for communications to provide this as an option in any call to action. However, although their responses may move towards online platforms, the opinion that printed mail isn’t appreciated by these groups is incredibly inaccurate. ‘Fledglings’ and ‘Sharers’ both view printed mail as being more trustworthy than information they read online and generally have a positive attitude towards it. Still living with parents or living in shared, often short term accommodation, means that the two groups simply receive less mail than other groups, therefore they aren’t as familiar with dealing with it and are more likely to respond to mail that is highly personalised; their mail needs to stand out when it lands on the welcome mat.

‘Couples’ require mail that also demands their attention, often living in smaller homes and dealing with mail promptly as they progress into a more ‘grown up’ life stage where mail is beginning to take it’s own established place within the home. As a result, response is positive and active, with 22% visiting a store as a result of receiving addressed mail in the last 12 months. Similarly, ‘Young Families’ are enthusiastic: the second most responsive life stage. Often short of time, they use smartphones to respond to mail more than any other group. Simple digital response mechanisms enable them to easily multitask on a day-to-day basis; balancing new and old responsibilities.

For ‘Older Families’, mail is communal and received far more frequently. As a result, association with mail is positive and, perhaps surprisingly, the response is incredibly digitally led; they are the second most digitally responsive life stage. ‘Empty Nesters’ however are less likely to respond to mail in such a way, and instead prefer phone or postal communications. Along with 75% of ‘Older Retirees’, ‘Empty Nesters’ agree that they’d feel less in control of their lives if they didn’t have printed copies of important documents, clearly indicating the huge value still placed on print.

The temptation to generalise the needs of a generation by means of out dated stereotypes is great. However as Market Reach has shown, by doing so you are at risk of neglecting the very real needs of your mail recipients. Mail is received and positively engaged with at every life stage; the challenge therefore comes with recognising and catering for different priorities, responsibilities and styles of living.

Datagraphic deliver secure communications. We specilise in taking raw data, transforming it, and then distributing it across multiple channels - whether that's print, online or even both.

Hear more from the DMA

Please login to comment.