The mail carrier is getting a little pudgy.
Correspondence by mail may be traditional but that doesn’t make it a bad thing.
It remains an effective, reliable and often more official method of communicating than email. Not to mention, that nice mail carrier that drops by every day (who you might notice is getting a little thicker around the middle due to the lightness of his mail pouch) can’t deliver you a digital package. At least not until someone works out that whole “other dimension” thing…
Universities don’t send acceptance letters via email. Insurance companies send refund checks through the mail. Flyers with the latest sales can be found online, but how many get caught in spam filters or lost in crowded in-boxes? There are instances where there is just no substitute for ink on paper.
And direct mail – catalogs, flyers, promotions – are a great example of this. The effectiveness of direct mail in capturing consumers’ attention has been the subject of numerous studies, and it has been proven time and again that people enjoy leafing through customer-oriented publications and seeing pictures of what they can buy. In fact, according to a study conducted by the United States Postal Service, consumers spend an average of 30 minutes looking at catalogs and 25 minutes with direct mail. What’s more, they eagerly await their arrival (can you say as much for most of your emails?). The same USPS study revealed that 98% of consumers bring in their mail the day it’s received and 77% sort through it immediately.1
And they aren’t just looking either. An Ipsos US study revealed that 67% of the online population is driven by offline messages to perform online searches for more information on a company, service or product. Thirty-nine percent of those respondents then make a purchase.2 What’s more, another USPS study from the same year determined that those who received a printed catalog from a retailer were twice as likely to buy online from that retailer as consumers who did not receive the catalog.3
Unlike the vast majority of emails we receive, getting something in the mail elicits a tangible emotional reaction. In other words, we actually look forward to getting a handful of letters and flyers, and enjoy sorting through them to see what they have to offer. The USPS has dubbed this The Mail Moment,® and points out how mail connects in ways other media can’t match.4 A study for the The Royal Mail indicates that our mood will improve by up to 29% if exposed to a positive tactile feeling.5
And, if this is true of the Pottery Barn catalog, it is surely even more so of a (gasp!) hand-written note from a friend, an invitation to a favorite cousin’s wedding or a postcard from a faraway place. An e-card is fun, but you can’t put it up anywhere as a visual reminder that someone remembered your birthday or wants you to get well soon. Receiving these things in the mail is a gift and brings you joy – unlike many emails.
Paper correspondence is effective, targeted and enjoyable. Plus, the mail carrier will never ask you for a 12-digit password before he gives you your package!
1 National Study Concludes Consumers Value The Mail
2 67% of the online population is driven by offline messages
3 Catalogs Influence Online Spending (information accessed through paid subscription-contact http://www.highbeam.com)
4 National Study Concludes Consumers Value The Mail
5 Harnessing the power of the five senses to create brand connections - Brand Sense presentation, commissioned by Royal Mail