Opening a nice envelope is surprisingly exciting.
There is always a bit of an element of surprise when you get your mail.
Will you find a birthday card? A wedding invitation? Your income tax refund check? Your credit card bill...
While the latter may elicit a feeling of panic, the sight of a hand addressed envelope invariably gives a thrill. In today’s “e” dominated society, the fact that someone has taken the time to sit down and write a personal note to you is an experience like few others. It speaks to an era when shooting off a quick Evite to your 40th birthday party or thanking people for a baby gift via your Blackberry would have not only been considered rude but wholly inadequate. Somehow, paper seems to make a sentiment more formal, more sincere, more real.
Unlike email, most people actually look forward to getting their mail. Indeed, in a survey conducted by the United States Postal Service (USPS), 98% of consumers bring in their mail the day it’s received and 77% sort through it immediately.1 This sense of anticipation and emotional reaction is what the USPS calls The Mail Moment®. It has been linked to the physical act of holding an envelope in your hand and tearing it open to see what’s inside. In fact, the Royal Mail has determined that our mood will improve by up to 29% if exposed to a positive tactile feeling2 (like flipping over a postcard you’ve gotten in the mail to see who it’s from).
The booming market for greeting cards is, in fact, a strong illustration of the continued popularity of paper-based missives for transmitting best wishes and other memorable messages. Although over 500 million e-cards were sent worldwide in 2009, the number pales in comparison to the amount of traditional printed cards delivered. According to the Greeting Card Association (GCA), this totalled seven billion last year!3 The group also argues that giving a greeting card creates a lasting impression and emotional bond between sender and receiver. Indeed, a national survey conducted for the GCA found that nearly one-third of respondents said they keep the special cards they receive “forever.” 4
Even the arrival of so called “junk mail” is greeted with enthusiasm. According to the USPS, people spend an average of 25 minutes with direct mail5 such as sales flyers, promotions, coupons, etc. And this is good news for the sender since the same study showed that receiving targeted direct mail inspires many people to go out to the store or buy online from the retailers who sent it. In fact, in a survey conducted in 2008 on behalf of Pitney Bowes, nearly 94% of consumers surveyed said they had taken action on promotional offers and coupons received via direct mail over the past year. Coupons offering discounts on groceries are the most likely to be used, followed by coupons for health and wellness products, entertainment, and electronics.6
Finally, what’s great about communicating on paper is that you can give the same thrill to a friend, family member or neighbor as you get when you receive a special envelope in the mail. It’s easy, quick and can be just as much fun for the person sending it as for the lucky recipient...
1 The Mail Moment, United States Postal Service
2 Harnessing the power of the five senses to create brand connections - Brand Sense presentation, commissioned by Royal Mail
5 The Mail Moment, United States Postal Service