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Direct Mail Still Works and Consumers Still Want It


Apr. 4, 2012-- A study released by global interactive marketing provider ExactTarget finds 66% of online Americans have made a purchase as a result of email and nearly just as many -- 65% -- purchased a product or service thanks to direct mail; This is nearly three times the percentage who have purchased after receiving marketing messages delivered via Facebook (20%) and four times greater purchases prompted from mobile marketing messaging (16%).


Based on a survey of 1,481 U.S. online consumers, ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey asked about Americans communications preferences and how consumers want to receive marketing messages.

When asked about how they PREFER to get permission-based marketing messages, 77% of respondents said email.  Direct mail was second at 9% and text marketing messaging was third at 5%.

ExactTarget also asked how ACCEPTABLE it is for companies to send them these different messages through various channels. Direct mail is the only channel where an unsolicited message isn’t viewed as inappropriate by consumers.


Consumers were asked to indicate how acceptable it would be for marketers to send them these messages through each channel based on a scale of one (1) to five (5), with 1 being completely unacceptable and 5 being completely acceptable. Green indicates message types and channels that consumers generally consider acceptable for marketing communications (based on one standard deviation above the overall mean), whereas red serves as a warning (one standard deviation below the overall mean).

ExactTarget states, "Our research into marketing-inspired purchase behavior illustrates that we live in a multi-channel world where brands that can execute campaigns across both mass and direct media will have a distinct advantage over their less coordinated competition. Today’s consumers are cross-channel communicators, and they’re ready to reward those brands that abide by the unique rules that govern each channel."


About:  The 2012 Channel Preference Survey research is the 14th report in ExactTarget’s Subscribers, Fans & Followers research series. The study is a follow up to ExactTarget’s 2008 Channel Preferences Survey.  A total of 1,481 respondents completed the survey between January 27, 2012, and February 1, 2012. The sample was stratified by age across seven groups (15-17, 18-24, 25- 34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, and 65+) to have a representative sample across each. Responses were then weighted by age and gender according to US Census Bureau population estimates and Pew Internet Project’s online activity data to reflect the online US consumer population.

Source: ExactTarget, The 2012 Channel Preference Survey, accessed April 10, 2012.