The attention economy: how brands can break through the noise with direct mail

70% of consumers think better of brands that send mail – earn trust from your customers to grow your business

In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded by fake news and commercial content, many have grown cynical and mistrusting of promotional communications.

At the same time, our digital lives are becoming increasingly busy and brands can find it difficult to stand out from the crowd in this emerging attention economy.

Why should consumers read your content over everything else they’ve seen today? And, more importantly, why should they trust it?

Why do businesses need to build trust with consumers?

The last couple of years have seen a number of political upsets and economic surprises contribute to growing unease and uncertainty amongst businesses and their customers.

According to the 2017 Edelmen Trust Barometer, mistrust in all four key global institutions – business, government, non-governmental organisations, and media – is growing; with trust in media having reached an all-time low, and trust in business declining.

In light of this, brands will have to work to bridge this widening gap, with content and messages that avoid the strategies and rhetoric consumers associate with untrustworthy sources.

Today’s noisy world demands better quality, more noticeable content.

So, what if you could get content in front of them that’s much harder to ignore; content that makes customers feel valued and has been found to be more trustworthy – what about direct mail?

How can direct mail help your business stand out?

Direct mail is a powerful way to get your customer’s attention.

Instead of competing for clicks online using the same strategies as everyone else, mail is increasingly rare – therefore more distinct and compelling – method of communicating with consumers. 65% of people who receive mail give it their full attention, while 70% “think better of” brands that send mail (up from 55% in 2013) and feel more valued as a customer (up from 57% in 2013) – according to research from Kantar TNS and Royal Mail MarketReach 2017.

What’s more, it’s clear that mail’s reputation as a trustworthy way for businesses to communicate with consumers is growing.

Is direct mail more trustworthy than digital content?

Research suggest the answer is yes, mail is more trustworthy.

Nearly twice as many (87%) consumers regard mail as believable in comparison with email (48%), considering it more formal, more important, and more secure than email.

Additionally, mail is the preferred form of communication for sensitive or confidential information for 51% of consumers, compared to 35% for email.

Is direct mail effective at driving profit?

Consumer response to mail is climbing all the time.

Between 2016 and 2017, the number of people who bought or ordered something from direct mail increased from 27% to 36%, while the number of those making an enquiry or requesting more information online saw an even more significant jump (13% to 32%).

Over the same period, the proportion of consumers who renewed an existing service or subscription as a result of receiving mail rose from 26% to 41%.

Mail has more longevity than its digital equivalent too: an item of addressed advertising stays in the home for an average of 17 days. This gives your message far longer to work its magic than emails, which are quickly buried in the daily flood that comes into our inboxes.

In the attention economy, mail is a powerful and undervalued weapon in the marketer’s arsenal. As more and more brands realise its potential to engage new and existing customers, drive traffic and footfall, and increase profits, those who adopt it as part of their strategy sooner stand to benefit the most.

This is not to say brands should abandon online marketing, but use direct mail to enhance and complement their digital strategy, using different channels to increase the reach and effectiveness of the other.

To find out how Mail can help your business visit https://www.royalmail.com/business-marketing/mail-made-easy/overview or phone 0800 014 2358.