In mail we trust

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62% of consumers enjoy checking their mailboxes.
62% of consumers enjoy checking their mailboxes.

Direct mail is a trusted channel, in every sense of the word. Indeed, four in 10 consumers say they prefer to receive sensitive health information in sealed envelopes from their mailboxes, according to Epsilon's 2012 Channel Preference Study, released today. The reason: Privacy issues with email.

“Consumers don't trust the new media as much as they do regular mail when it comes to personal information, says Epsilon SVP of product marketing and insights Warren Storey. “They feel more secure with direct mail because they can touch it, open it in private, and store it more easily.”

It's also harder for important envelopes to get lost in the shuffle. Seventy percent of the nearly 2,000 U.S. consumers responding to the survey said they received more emails in the past year than they did the year before. More than a third of consumers also singled out insurance and financial services as industries from which they preferred postal mail. Email is favored, Storey says, for hobbies and interests that people are more directly engaged in and which present fewer privacy concerns.

“What we tell our clients is that there is a level of trust you need to gain with consumers through traditional media,” Storey says “Though social media is gaining in importance, traditional media still leads in numbers and in trust. So it's important to build a strong presence with radio, TV, or print and then using new channels to connect further with consumer segments based on their behaviors.”

Storey adds that Epsilon's study detected little variance in the trust issue across different age groups or regional locations. Gender did produce slight different attitudes toward social media, however. “Women are more trusting of recommendations from family and friends,” he notes. “Men trust emails more.”

Officials—and letter carriers—at the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service will be bolstered by Epsilon's finding that 62% of all consumers say they enjoy checking their mailboxes for mail.

Not so happy will be retailers eager to send offers to the smartphones of shoppers flagged in their stores through near field communication (NFC) technologies. A resounding 80% of consumers said they did not wish to be engaged in this fashion.

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