Study reveals secret of successful direct mail

A new survey of UK consumers has shown that one factor is nearly twice as persuasive of consumers to respond – and it is not creative. Timing was named by 66 per cent of a representative sample of 1,000 Britons as the feature of a mailing that is most likely to make them respond, compared to just one third who named design and personalisation. The research was commissioned by GI Direct.

Among some demographic groups, the level was even higher – 70 per cent for the affluent 35 to 44 age group. With major lifestage changes taking place, such as buying a house or starting a family, timing is especially important here. Men are slightly more influenced by timing than women, at 68 v 64 per cent.

But the genders are nearly equal in the perceptions of the value of design and personalisation, at 31 v 32 per cent. Significantly, creative was claimed to be least persuasive among Londoners, at just 24 per cent.

Managing director of GI Direct Patrick Headley says: “Both personalisation and timing are important and the one cannot be substituted for the other. There is clearly a question of balance between the two. The appearance and personalisation of direct marketing is critical in achieving standout on the doormat. However, too little attention is being paid to ensuring direct marketing arrives at a time when the recipient is most likely to respond and buy.”

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