A Snapshot of User Behavior When Reading Direct Mail

The frank Agency
direct mail marketing

If you’re among the many companies sending out direct-mail collateral, you may wonder what happens when the target audience receives your mail. Here, we’ll walk you through the typical read and response pattern of a direct-mail recipient.

Meet Allison. She’s a 32-year old newly married account executive at a mid-sized insurance firm. She and her husband, Josh, recently purchased their first home. They have no children besides the four-legged variety, a sassy West Highland Terrier named Snow.

Checking the Mail

Each day, Allison is first to return home after work. She immediately checks the mail (as do 62 percent of millennials) before pulling into the driveway. Like 70 percent of people, Allison is actually curious about what’s in her mailbox. She finds checking and opening her mail to be both exciting and deeply personal.

She steps into her home to delighted yaps from Snow. She drops the mail and her bag on the kitchen counter and gives the dog a few minutes of her attention. After scratching behind Snow’s ears and freshening her food and water supply, Allison returns to the stack of mail on her counter. All of the above form her “coming home” ritual which is ingrained into her daily routine.

She sorts through various bills and sales papers before uncovering a well-designed catalog for a local home store, House to Home. The finely crafted catalog cuts through Allison’s typical 8-second attention span with its eye-catching headings and images. Similar to Allison, people consider catalogs the most interesting type of mail, with a 23 percent increase in overall responses.

The store advertises their grand opening sale and Allison thinks how fortuitous the sale is, as she and Josh still have only spartan furnishings. She has been eager to do more shopping to make their new place feel more like home.

Allison spends the next 30 minutes browsing the catalog and filling out checks to pay the bills. Snow promptly barks at her for more attention–another ritual–so Allison places the catalog to the side and laces up her sneakers to take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood.

Responding to Direct Mail

When they return, Josh has arrived home. They greet one another and share details about their day as they decide what to cook for dinner. While cooking, Allison remembers the catalog and mentions it to Josh–women make more than 80 percent of purchasing decisions. “We could use some side tables for the living room, some rugs, and a set of lamps.” Josh agrees, so Allison makes a mental note to catch the grand opening sale in two weeks.

The hustle and bustle of daily life causes Allison to briefly forget about the sale over the next couple days. Fortunately, two days before the sale is due to begin, she receives an attractive postcard from House to Home in the mail with a redeemable code to save 20 percent. As with 80 percent of respondents, Allison instantly remembered the catalog she had been sent weeks ago. By sending consistent direct mail–this time in the form of an oversized postcard, which has an overall five percent response rate–the brand stayed at the forefront of Allison’s mind. This time, she immediately creates a reminder for her and Josh to check out the sale on Saturday.

Influencing Other Buyers

She finds the catalog under a stack of more recent mail and thumbs through it again before sliding it into her bag. The next day at work, a friendly co-worker catches a glimpse of the catalog peaking out of Allison’s bag. Allison shares the details about sale. Noticing her co-worker’s interest, she pulls out the catalog and gives it to her. “I’ve already looked at it. Here, you take it. Maybe something will catch your eye.”

The following Saturday, Allison and Josh spend several hundred dollars purchasing home accents (two-thirds of people are driven to make purchases due to direct mail). She also decided to open a credit account with the store because she is so pleased with their inventory.

Allison is your typical American shopper. She checks her mail daily and even enjoys the process. Plus, the direct mail she receives influences her purchasing decisions online and in local stores. Even more thrilling for marketers is Allison’s tendency, like many women, to share attractive, well-targeted direct mail pieces with those around her, at once influencing their purchasing decisions and leading to even more new customers for companies like House to Home.

The frank Agency knows what drives recipients to consume mail correspondence and act upon it. Contact The frank Agency today for help with your direct-mail campaign!


Category: Direct Marketing
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