Study: Women Prefer Direct Mail to E-mail Ads

Direct mail is read by 32% more women ages 25-44 than e-mail advertising, according to the Customer Focus 2007 Direct Mail study conducted by Baltimore-based marketing services provider Vertis Communications. Despite the influx of electronically generated advertisements in the past decade, the study shows that 85% of women ages 25-44 read printed direct mail marketing pieces.

Vertis Communications conducted a telephone survey of 2,500 adults in September and October 2006. The study shows that 53% of all women surveyed aged 25-44 who have access to e-mail read e-mail advertisements, a figure consistent with the 54% of respondents who said the same in 2005.

Marketers can enhance their direct mail campaigns by offering target customers exclusive deals and coupons, the study shows. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed indicated they have replied to direct mail campaigns that contain a “buy one, get one free” offer. Also, 63% said they have responded to direct mail campaigns offering a percentage discount on merchandise, up from 54% in 2005.

Other highlights of the study reveal:

* Direct mail response rates are significantly higher among Hispanics. The number of Hispanics who responded to direct mail rose from 38% in 2003 to 54% last year.

* Personalized follow-up communication can be more effective than sending generic information. More than half of the women surveyed indicated they are responsive to companies that send follow-up communication that is personalized to their needs. And only 38% of men ages 34-49 prefer generic direct mail when contacted by a company in which they have expressed interest.

* While 45% of adults surveyed like receiving personalized follow-up e-mails, younger men and women seem to be more responsive to this medium; 52% of men ages 25-34 and 56% of women the same age said e-mail is an acceptable form of follow-up communication. Text messaging was the most desired method of follow-up communication for men ages 18-24, with 23% preferring contact via this method, compared with only 5% of women the same age.

* Comfort levels of adults providing credit-card numbers online have increased, with 42% of adults surveyed being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable in 2006, up from 32% in 2003. On the other hand, 40% of the adults surveyed indicated they are not comfortable providing credit-card information online—though that is down from 52% in 2003.