In times of social, economic and political change, it’s important that every message your business sends can be trusted.

Mail has always had an important role to play in the marketing mix. However, in today’s unpredictable climate, research we conducted in partnership with the global research company TNS proves that mail's unique characteristics provide an even greater opportunity for businesses to build trust and credibility with customers.

Mail adds a believable element to the marketing mix

In an increasingly digital world, the comparative tangibility of ‘real world’ mail offers a trusted channel that consumers believe in and value. In fact, our research reveals that 87% of customers rate mail as believable, compared to just 48% for email.

Mail conveys a sense of importance that compels people to read and review it. Where people see email as quick, they view mail as more secure, formal and important. As a result, we discovered that 65% of customers say they are likely to give mail their full attention, compared with 35% who say the same for email.

Confidentiality matters

In May 2017, we also asked TNS to examine perceptions of mail across a wide range of characteristics. The findings show that mail really stands out when businesses send people sensitive or confidential account information.

As part of the study, 1,200 nationally representative respondents were asked, 'What is your preferred method of contact for sensitive or confidential account information?' Over half (51%) said they prefer businesses to contact them by mail compared to 35% for email, with the rest preferring to hear by phone (12%) or text (1%).

Although talking to customers through digital channels is crucial for most businesses, there are many situations in which people still prefer to receive a ‘hard copy’ of certain documents. When businesses need to keep communications private, mail delivers reassurance that the message is credible and secure. 

The value of mail is growing

In 2007 – and again in 2013 – we commissioned research into the emotional responses mail and email evoke. We did it again in 2017. On each occasion we asked participants how mail makes them feel, and what mail makes them feel about the organisation that sent it.

In a ten-year period, the proportion of people that said mail made them feel more valued increased from 43% to 70%. Likewise, the number of people who said mail gave them a better impression of the company that sent it increased to 70%, up from 53% in 2007. 

The huge volume of advertising messages a consumer is now exposed to makes it harder for businesses to leave a lasting impression. In this context, the emotional engagement mail creates can help businesses to stand out from the competition.

Mail converts trust into profit

Our research into The private life of mail revealed that addressed advertising mail stays in the home for an average of 17 days, door drops stay for an average of 38 days, and bills and statements for 45 days. What’s more, people revisited the mail up to seven times during this period, increasing their chances of engaging with it more deeply.

92% of customers respond online to mail they value

Mail’s memorability offers an immersive form of communication that businesses can use to drive customers to a website or other digital channels.

During our Why people value mail research, we identified that 92% of customers respond online to mail they value, and 87% went on to buy something through the sender’s website. A Brand Science review backs this up, concluding that when businesses add mail to the marketing mix, campaigns have a 12% bigger ROI than those without.

Conclusion

Economic forecasters suggest that uncertainty is going to be with us for quite a while. In these times of constant change, the solid, tactile and printed nature of mail provides a level of credibility that few other channels can match. Ensure your customers value your communications and respond in a profitable way by adding mail to your marketing mix to deliver results.

To learn more about building trust with mail, download our report, The value of mail in uncertain times. Or to start enhancing your strategy through mail, contact our team today.