Some 45% of families with younger children could not live without the internet on their phone and 15% have responded to direct mail online using their mobile or tablet.
According to The Life Stages of Mail research by Royal Mail’s MarketReach, mail stimulates parents to respond using digital devices. They will often reference information gleaned from mail.
Brands can use direct mail to introduce themselves to new customers
A quarter of younger parents (mostly aged 25-44) agree that mail alerted them to new products and services. One business increasing the amount of direct mail it sends to young families is life insurer Royal London.
Head of marketing David Meliveo says mail is a non-intrusive method of reaching new parents who worry about their child’s financial security if they or their partner were to die.
Royal London markets life insurance to parents through its partnership with pregnancy and parenting club Bounty. “When people have their first baby they start to think about life insurance, and addressed mail is less intrusive than a phone call or an email. We let people go online in their own time to find out more,” says Meliveo.
He says people often research on their smartphone or tablet but purchase on their desktop. “Our campaigns are an efficient combination of non-intrusive personalised offline media and digital.”
Direct Mail is most effective with a digital call-to-action
Another brand targeting young families is National Trust. Its ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ campaign encouraged families to be more adventurous. The mailing included a glow in the dark Night Safari poster and promoted exciting activities such as night walks.
The ‘50 things..’ mailing led to 11 times more downloads of the campaign app while dwell time on the relevant National Trust web pages increased from two minutes to seven minutes.
What this campaign and the Royal London activity demonstrate is that parents with young children take very seriously any mailing which might improve their offspring’s life, health and development.
Young families are so engaged with direct mail they are more likely than any other group to have bought or ordered something from it, tried a new product and provided household information to a company.
For older families – those with at least one child in secondary school and with parents generally aged between 35 and 54 – there is also a tendency to go online to respond to a piece of mail.
Although, the Royal Mail research reveals that 30 % of this group are more likely to respond via a PC or laptop than a smartphone or tablet (10%). Overall, older families are above average in how they react and respond to mail, which they see as part of an omnichannel world.
Mail also encourages older children to take part in family discussions about, for instance, where to go on holiday. Family members will also share mail if they think something is relevant to another member of the household.
In fact, mail designed for parents is often noticed by their offspring, so there is an opportunity for brands to connect with teenagers whose opinion might sway a family purchasing decision.
Duncan Clayson, senior marketing manager at Boots, says businesses should consider the preference for responding online when developing propositions and creative to this group so it can maximise the opportunity for sharing.
“It is reassuring that this life stage likes to use digital channels to respond to mail,” he says. “We have seen that direct mail drives people to respond online, so we are always mindful to ensure that we offer as many online response channels as possible.”
These channels must be easy to use because family members often respond to mail when they are out of the home. Parents react positively to addressed mail and will keep vouchers and coupons for a later date, perhaps for a day out during the school holidays. For example, a mailshot from a tourist attraction often prompts a web search for more information such as prices and opening times.
The Royal Mail research shows that 53% of young families have used a voucher mailed to them and 16% have gone online for more information.
Value-based messaging appeals to families with younger and older children
Young families tend to want value. They are more likely to use credit cards and price comparison sites, while coupons and vouchers are welcome if money is tight.
Many older families are also on a budget too and welcome mail that relieves financial difficulties because 39% budget for every penny. People at this life stage are also receiving an increasing amount of mail, with 20% being sent information from high street stores.
Despite the increased volume, older families do find mail welcoming, useful, memorable and informative with 60% saying they like to receive mail from companies that reward their loyalty.
One company targeting families with a message of how they can save money on the price-sensitive area of fuel is Rix Petroleum. It is the UK’s oldest remaining family-owned independent fuel distributor and has branches throughout the country.
It runs direct mail campaigns during the heating oil season targeting existing and potential customers.
The content promotes the company’s heritage as a family firm to build trust, directs consumers to its website for an instant quote and to arrange delivery, and includes a promotional code. “We know through demographic profiling that families make up about 80% of our customers and we use mail to complement our email campaigns,” says group marketing manager James Brook.
When children are born families start relationships with new brands and as the family grows in number and age these interactions evolve and often change completely. Brands have to understand this and adapt their messaging according. The Royal Mail research shows that families will respond to appropriately targeted messages via mail and will respond to it – as long as they can do so online.
- 92% more likely to have responded to mail using a phone or tablet
- 23% more likely to refer to mail when online
- 62% have a specific place in the house where they keep leaflets and vouchers
- 37% agree a relevant mail can change their view of a company
- 52% have used a voucher they’ve received in the mail in the past year
- 27% have bought or ordered something after receiving addressed mail
- 59% like mail from companies that reward customer loyalty
- 23% agree mail often alerts them to new products and services