Direct mail is an essential part of any comprehensive marketing strategy. In the 2011 Channel Preference Study conducted by Epsilon Targeting, it was found that "direct mail continues to deliver as consumers' preferred means of receiving marketing messages from brands."

The 2011 research shows that despite direct mail's reputation for being "old school" or expensive, it is the top choice of U.S. and Canadian consumers for the receipt of brand communications in almost every category, ranging from health to household products, to household services, insurance and financial services, including credit card offers. The preference for direct mail also extends to the 18-34 year old demographic.

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Some key findings from the study also include:

  • 50% of U.S. consumers said they pay more attention to postal mail than email;
  • 60% of U.S. consumers said they enjoy checking the mailbox for postal mail, highlighting an emotional connection;
  • 30% of U.S. consumers said they're receiving more mail that interests them compared to a year ago, and just 50% (down from 63% in 2010) said more information is sent to them in the mail -- indicating marketers are improving targeting efforts;
  • The perception that reading email is faster declined among U.S. email account holders to 45% in 2011 (from 47% in 2010), suggesting clogged inboxes are draining time.
  • 37% of U.S. consumers use TV daily to get consumer product information, down from 43% in 2010;
  • The least trustworthy channels are social media and blogs, achieving only 6% trust among U.S. consumers;
  • The number of U.S. respondents who said internet use "is more anonymous" declined to 8% in 2011 from 11% in 2010;
  • Personally addressed mail is greatly preferred to unaddressed, with numbers in the insurance category showing a 31% to 5% gap;