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New survey reveals Gen Y is most excited to receive direct mail


October 7, 2021
By PrintAction Staff

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A recent study by R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (RRD), a global provider of marketing and business communications, reveals traditional marketing channels, such as word of mouth, direct mail, and in-store signage, are largely untapped by marketers. The study, based on surveys of both marketing professionals and consumers, uncovers significant differences between marketer assumptions and what consumers say actually influences their brand awareness and purchase decisions.

RRD commissioned twin surveys of U.S. marketing professionals and consumers in the summer of 2021 to provide a comparative analysis of consumer preferences and expectations relating to brands and marketers’ assumptions about those preferences. The RRD surveys were conducted by FINN Partners in July 2021 in the U.S. The surveys were conducted online and the data is weighted to be nationally representative. Around 250 marketing professionals across a variety of industry sectors and 1,000 consumers participated in the surveys.

After a year of volatility and transformation, consumers value traditional marketing channels. For nearly a third of consumers (28 per cent), word of mouth is the preferred method for learning about a new brand, product, or service — outpacing social media (23 per cent), cable TV (12 per cent) and online/digital ads (11 per cent). At the same time, a mere four per cent of marketers identified word of mouth as a consumer preference for learning about new brands, products or services. The study also revealed word of mouth has a higher research-to-purchase ratio (40 per cent) than social media (30 per cent), online/digital ads (27 per cent), or print ads (16 per cent).

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“In a tumultuous and challenging year, consumers embraced traditional marketing methods as they sought to discover, research and, ultimately, purchase from new brands,” said John Pecaric, president of RRD Marketing Solutions and Business Services. “Based on our survey results, marketers may need to revisit their strategies and assumptions about what customers are looking for and adjust accordingly in order to meet their expectations.”

More than half (51 per cent) of consumers were more excited to receive direct mail in the past year than they were in the year prior, with the highest levels among Gen Y (65 per cent), Gen Z (57 per cent) and Gen X (53 per cent). Baby Boomers are least likely to be excited about receiving direct mail (36 per cent). While 67 per cent of marketers made significant changes to their marketing strategies in the past year, the consumer data suggests marketers should continue to fine-tune their efforts and consider re-investing in traditional marketing channels.