Direct Mail Survey: Some Customers Still Prefer Mail to Email

The U.S. Postal Service is promoting a program aimed at getting businesses to send more direct mail to potential customers. The program would allow businesses to micro-target customers based on their neighborhood or zip code. Is direct mail still an effective technique for businesses? Are some customers more likely to look at their mail than they are at emails?

direct mail

Direct Mail

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 17% of respondents said they receive advertisements or special offers from businesses via direct mail every day. 33% said they receive this type of mail fairly often, 33% said they get it sometimes, 7% said they rarely get it, and 10% said they never do.

Of those who receive direct mail from businesses, just 6% said they always read it. 23% said they read it more often than not. 33% said they read it about half the time. 35% said they rarely read it. And 4% don’t ever read mail from businesses.

Mail vs. Email

When it comes to making purchases, 21% said they are more likely to purchase based on direct mail offers than offers received via email. Just 13% said they are more likely to make purchases based on email offers rather than direct mail offers. 38% said it makes no difference – they are just as likely to make purchases based on direct mail, as they are to do so based on email. And 28% said they never make purchases based on direct mail or email messages.

Grabbing Attention

Those who sometimes make purchases based on direct mail need to first actually look at the piece of mail. 79% of respondents said that mail with coupons or exclusive deals is most likely to grab their attention. 39% look for mail from chain businesses with recognizable names, while 35% prefer mail from local businesses. And 29% look for visually appealing mail.

Electronic communication may be a cheaper, easier option for many businesses, but it seems that some Americans might still respond well to receiving direct mail instead. The widget below shows the results of the survey in full. Be sure to click “open full report” for full details.

Photo Credit: Mail from Flickr

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on March 20 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.

3 Responses to Direct Mail Survey: Some Customers Still Prefer Mail to Email

  1. Pingback: Does Direct Mail still Trump Email? - Printing Hub - Printing Hub

  2. Kate Olsen says:


    Very Informative post. The statistics mentioned here can be helpful while
    creating my next marketing campaign. Direct Mail still holds to be the king
    even in this digital age, one of the reasons being  spammers continue to destroy the legitimate
    Email marketing channel.

    In my opinion we should still be testing email marketing as it is fast,
    cheap and fabulous testing medium but never neglect the proven(through this
    survey) ability of direct mail.

    • DirectMail JEM says:

      I suspected for years, and told my clients the same, that if you can touch it and see it , it means more. Email research is everywhere, but finding some hard numbers to back my perspective was impossible. Finding this report is so timely, and I see more and more following after Ms Pilon. Neuroscience backs it up, too.
      Online has a very narrow reach, though very “efficient” it does not seem to be very effective for small business

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