Think E-Media Beats One to One Print? Think Again! {Consumers Love Getting Mail.}

Jun 28, 2011

Think you’re being more effective by switching from traditional to digital media? Especially in the 18–34-year-old demographic? Think again! Two recent studies suggest that variable print may be far more effective, even among this coveted age group.

A recent study titled “Finding the Right Channel Combination: What Drives Channel Choice” conducted by ICOM, a division of Epsilon Targeting, surveyed over 2500 U.S. and 2200 Canadian households. It found that consumers overwhelmingly preferred to learn about marketing offers via print media than online sources.

While we might expect this from older consumers, this survey targeted 18–34-year-olds. In every category surveyed, with the exception of travel, these younger, more tech-savvy consumers overwhelmingly preferred print over online media for marketing communications.

One to One Print Builds Trust

Why? One reason is trust. According to the survey, 36% of U.S. respondents across all age groups trust the mail more than email. This is up from 29% in 2008. While only 19% said online information “can’t be trusted” in 2008, that percentage increased to 25% this year.

Even personalization cannot overcome this mistrust. While email and online can be personalized, consumers often complain that online advertising is ubiquitous and inescapable. The use of cookies to track their behavior can also result in highly irrelevant suggestions (“Other people who bought Natural Remedies for Headaches also bought Dancing with the Stars Cardio Workout!”). The result is a high level of mistrust and annoyance.

By contrast, the intentional, highly targeted use of personalization in print is non-intrusive and the relevance is clear. 1:1 print also tends to be geared more, not to the short-term sale, but to relationship-building.

One to One Print Is More Relevant

Could this be in part why traditional advertising (both print and other media) is seen as more relevant than online media? In a separate survey of more than 1,200 people conducted for ad:tech London by Zussi Research, 69% percent of respondents saw traditional advertising as relevant to them, compared with 45% for online. Respondents also described online marketing as chaotic. This creates a high level of annoyance, even when online media is targeted.

Compare this to print, which consumers perceive as requiring a greater investment by the marketer. For this reason, it earns their trust and respect more than e-media. Consumers appreciate this type of purposeful investment in the marketer’s relationship with them. It creates a sense that they are valued.

Ready, Set, Capitalize!

So while you may want to expand your marketing to include a multichannel approach, don’t make the mistake of replacing print with alternative media. Instead, personalize it!

Capitalize on consumers’ positive perception of print to differentiate yourself as a company that cares about your customers in a way that consumers often perceive online advertisers don’t.

Then build on that perception with relevant, personalized communications they’ll remember and respect!

More Insights to Enjoy:

+ Be Different! Send Mail!

+ Can One to One Printing Beat Out Electronic Media?

+ One to One Personalization Keeps Print Relevant

© Action Graphics, 2011. Article taken from Action Insights, Vol. 2, Issue 4. Sign up today to receive future issues of our newsletters.

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