In the late lamented Terry Pratchett’s rather wonderful novel Going Postal, the Patrician of the city engineers a faked death for a con-man so as to put him charge of the crumbling and moribund Post Office. No one is sending mail any more since the advent of the much faster Clacks system (read internet), which is run by a nefarious rogue. But the letters that have been written over the years and are piled up to the ceilings of the post office building want to be delivered, and when they are, people remember why receiving something you can hold in your hands still matters.
It’s a delightful fantasy. But today’s Royal Mail has done some interesting research that seems to show that there’s still something in it. The research called The Life Stages of Mail highlights findings across seven life stages from ‘fledglings’ (16-24 and still living at home and 32% more likely to trust printed information than digital) to retirees (over 66 for whom longer form content well written is important). Direct mail still has relevance to every group from families to couples to sharers.
The survey found over half of respondents agreed that high quality printing and design would encourage them to open and read a mailing, although for busy young families, it was content that was more important.
Digital now rules our lives, but it’s not the only route to communication. Combining relevant content in a well-designed and presented print mailing, followed up by opportunities for digital response through email campaigns appears to be an ideal client journey plan.