Consumers prefer personalized direct mail

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Sixty-one percent of consumers in a recent InfoTrends study stated a preference for direct mail, nearly triple the amount who preferred receiving ads via e-mail.

The study, "The Future of Mail 2007: Direct Mail, Transaction, and 'Transpromotional' Documents," gives details on the U.S. and Canadian markets. It focuses on customer-facing applications such as direct marketing, billing and related issues such as customer support and fulfillment. It investigates consumer behavior and preferences and reviews print provider expectations and plans as well as the plans of those who generate these documents.

Within this category, personalized direct mail with messages and offers designed to reflect the consumer's needs and interests were most favored.

InfoTrends, Weymouth, MA, a Questex company, is a market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industry.

The study also examined adoption of transpromotional documents, which combine marketing messages with transaction information. The survey found high consumer preference for such documents (63 percent), and the study forecasts full-color digital transpromotional pages growing at a 91 percent rate through 2010.

Other study highlights:

* In 2005, the North American transaction market consisted of 64.3 billion documents with a value of $120 billion, while 114 billion direct mail pieces (with a retail value of $61.1 billion) were sent.

* Consumers state that only 31 percent of the direct mail they receive contains personalized content that they find useful.

* A high level of trust exists in the U.S. and Canadian postal services.

* Print providers who serve these markets have strong investment intentions, especially regarding mailing equipment and digital color.

* Not everyone will flock to electronic bill presentment or electronic bill presentment and payment, as just under half of the respondents planned to pay bills online. Security concerns were the main reason consumers did not want to switch to online banking. The study consisted of surveys of 850 adult consumers who pay bills, 456 document owners who are responsible for direct mail and transaction documents and 397 print providers who focus on direct mail and transaction documents.

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