NEWS: Consumers tired of direct mail formats, new survey reveals

Consumers are looking for more creativity from mailshots and are being put off by many of the tired techniques persistently used by some advertisers, according to a new survey.

Consumers are looking for more creativity from mailshots and are being

put off by many of the tired techniques persistently used by some

advertisers, according to a new survey.



But companies that confuse creativity with gimmickry may see their

efforts backfire, the research concludes.



The survey was commissioned by the Direct Mail Information Service to

investigate consumers’ reactions to the creativity of the mailshots they

receive.



It follows group discussions and interviews with consumers, aged between

25 and 60 and from a range of social classes during February and March.

They were asked to record their spontaneous impressions of all the

direct mail they had received during the two weeks prior to the survey.



DMIS warned that there is a serious danger that the relationship between

advertiser and consumer ‘may be undermined by the use of a creative

technique that does not fit the consumer’s perception of how that type

of advertiser should operate’.



Consumers were positive about advertisers that tried to produce creative

mailshots, but they condemned ‘tacky’ promotions that made unbelievable

statements on the envelope, such as ‘urgent’ or ‘private and

confidential’.



Consumers were also angered by the ‘cliched’ technique of trying to

personalise a letter by repeating recipients’ names in several places

The survey’s findings were welcomed by Mike O’Brien, creative director

of the direct marketing agency, Hamilton Wright, and one of the founders

of the Campaign Against Junk Marketing. ‘Consumers are sophisticated and

will regard a bad piece of direct mail as a personal insult. The more

they show that they won’t put up with it, the more advertisers will put

pressure on agencies to improve standards.’



Topics