Touchpoints 6: The Value of Mail is clear | DMA

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Touchpoints 6: The Value of Mail is clear

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It was interesting to read the findings of the latest IPA TouchPoints dataset, but a surprise to see that the value of direct mail in the multi-channel landscape had been omitted. Mail drives action across media, boosts ROI when included in multi-channel campaigns, and offers a unique opportunity for brands to reach customers.

We updated our questions for TouchPoints 6 based on the findings of our own research reports Private Life of Mail and This Time It's Personal, to delve deeper into the value mail delivers beyond the doormat, and the ways it operates in consumers' lives.

TouchPoints 6 confirms our own insights, with data on how far a piece of mail can reach, what actions it drives, and how it can resonate within the household.
Mail in the media mesh.

Today's consumers are more multi-device literate than ever, using two or more media at the same time, with 87% of all adults now multi-media tasking each week. In the complex world of 'media meshing' consumers are increasingly distracted, and advertisers need to look at what will drive loyalty and action - for this, they need to look at mail.

The value of mail in the media mix is that it delivers cross-channel results. Touchpoints 6 has shown that as a result of receiving direct mail, 13% made an enquiry or requested information online, and 12% have referred to the information in a mailing whilst online.

While online shopping is on the rise - accounting for 10% of adults' purchasing occasions - it is the combination of online and offline that drives the customer journey for most people. 73% of adults have taken some kind of action after receiving mail, and 27% have bought or ordered something.

The fact that 21% visited a store after receiving mail shows that mail prompts footfall as well as clicks.

The findings align with our own research which showed 42% purchased or renewed after receiving mail they had found useful or interesting, and 48% were tempted by the offered product or service. Retail mail, such as catalogues, inspired four in 10 to go online for more information, and led 63% to take direct action.

In the home, on the fridge

The growth of streaming and social media, highlighted by TouchPoints, highlights the increasingly ephemeral nature of media for today's consumers. In contrast to this trend, mail offers brands unparalleled longevity and reach in consumers' daily lives.

Mail resonates with consumers for longer, staying in the home as a shared medium for multiple members of the household: 82% read mail and keep it for later use; 86% of consumers have commercial mail that has been in the house for a week or more; 66% for one month or more; 51% have kept it for three months or more.

The shareable nature of mail is linked to its physical integration into the household environment. Over 20% talked to others in the household about mail they had read, and 58% have put some mail somewhere visible in the home for others to see.

Our own research showed this would be also be mostly in social spaces, leading with the kitchen (51%) and in the living room (31%). (download it here)

The mail moment

In today's busy world of multi-screen behaviours, consumers prefer to take time away from their devices for important activities and decisions. The lean-forward engagement offered by this moment is hugely valuable to brands.

TouchPoints shows that 69% set aside time to read mail carefully, and TouchPoints 6 showed that adults spent an average of 18 minutes a day with mail, compared to 13 minutes with magazines.

Visual browsing items such as catalogues are a prime example of mail that is kept around the house for when bigger purchase decisions are made.

TouchPoints shows that 51% of consumers have at least one catalogue in their home, and 74% of women keep catalogues to refer back to them.

The mail moment is fuelled by the emotive value of mail. In our research we found that 57% of consumers identified mail as a medium that made them feel valued and in TouchPoints itself we see that 43.5% say that the physical properties of mail influence how they felt about the sender. The tangible nature of mail is a powerful offering for brands.

Mail is present in the house, is part of people's daily lives, and makes people act. Over £1bn is invested in mail campaigns every year - a figure only bettered by Google and ITV - brands and agencies should add mail to their next TouchPoints run, and understand why.

While the current vogue is to look at how digital media is disrupting behaviours, we cannot understate the unique value of mail and its role in driving consumer action.

Jonathan Harman is managing director of Royal Mail MarketReach.

This blog first appeared on MediaTel

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