How the way we respond to mail changes through our lives

How we respond to mail changes through life


 In the first of this blog series examining the study we looked at the influence of technology on attitudes and behaviour towards physical mail, in this concluding blog, we take a look at the similarities and differences between life stage groups in responses to and actions taken as a result of receiving mail.

‘Fledglings’ – adults living at home – are the biggest sharers of mail, nearly 17 percent passed mail on, a significantly higher proportion than the 12.6 percent average across the groups. It would be a mistake to dismiss this generation of youngsters as rejecters of physical mail – over 20 percent said they’re more likely to trust mail than information found on the internet. Even the humble printed voucher has relevance to this tech-savvy group – over 65 percent agreed they’re more likely to remember to use one if they carry a physical copy.

Sharers are the life stage group most likely to exist below the radar of many companies sending out mail. Think house sharers in higher education who aren’t necessarily registered with local services and who often see their living situation as temporary. Their ‘official’ status in the world often resides at the parental family home, being a more permanent residence. Unaddressed mail is an opportunity for firms to begin to establish a brand relationship with this group before it puts down roots – 14 percent said they shared such items.

Young families are undergoing huge changes in their lives and are receptive to new information that can help them. Mail informs and inspires them as they adjust to the unfamiliar products and services they suddenly find themselves needing. Mail can grab their attention so they’re more likely to respond to it than most of the other groups, but when they do take action they’re likely to do so through a convenient digital channel.

Families – both those with young and older children – are mail’s voucher users, around 52 percent had used one in the past 12 months.

With older families, children have begun to occupy a more influential role in household decisions and activities which is worth bearing in mind when targeting this group – a balance should be struck between appealing to the holders of the purse and their influencers.

Older retirees are the keepers of mail. The average across all life stages for hanging on to post to refer to is just under 37 percent – not low by any means for any group – but the most senior group eclipse this at just over 43 percent. Significantly for businesses targeting this group, they’re the most likely to go ahead and buy or order a product as a result of something they received in the post. A huge proportion – 31.7 percent had done so, compared to only 23.3 percent of fledglings.

Physical mail endures as an important channel for reaching out to current and potential customers. This latest study shows how an understanding of target groups according to their life stages can help companies get the most out of their mailings. To find out more, visit the Royal Mail MarketReach website.

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