Timing of direct mail more important than personalisation, finds GI Direct

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The majority of Britons (66%) say they are more likely to respond to direct marketing that reaches them at the right time. In contrast, just one third claim design and personalisation to be more important than timing in getting them to respond

The case for personalisation in direct marketing is widely recognised and well-targeted campaigns are much more prevalent nowadays. However, GI Direct commissioned research to find out whether the design and personalisation of a mailing was actually the most important factor in eliciting response, or whether timing was more likely to encourage the recipient to buy. Findings across all categories were surprisingly consistent but some variations are worth highlighting.

35-44 year-olds were most persuaded by timing (70%). Since major life changes, such as buying a house and having children, are starting to happen later in life nowadays, this age-group is, perhaps, particularly receptive to well-timed campaigns offering deals on furniture or baby-related products, for example.

Timing was an important factor for both men and women, though men were slightly more convinced by it than women (68% and 64% respectively). On the other hand, a roughly equal amount of men and women found design and personalisation the most important factor (31% and 32% respectively).

Londoners were least influenced by design and presentation (24%). With a faster pace of life in the capital city people are likely to be more receptive to something that takes into consideration the hectic work and social schedules many of them have to juggle with.

Results showed that some respondents agreed that both timing and design and personalisation were important.

Patrick Headley, Sales Director, GI Direct, comments: “Both personalisation and timing are important, and the one cannot be substituted for the other. There is clearly a question of balance between the two. The appearance and personalisation of direct marketing is critical in achieving standout on the doormat. However, too little attention is being paid to ensuring direct marketing arrives at a time when the recipient is most likely to respond and buy.

“Organisations therefore need to pay attention not only to the appropriate targeting of their direct mail campaigns, but also being able to identify the triggers and times when recipients are most likely to respond. This requires smart analysis of customer data, coupled with production facilities that can economically generate small batches of triggered mailings.

“There has been a gradual technological evolution happening in direct mail production. Service providers who can support this move towards event-triggered campaigns are starting to grow in number. There will always be a requirement for marketers to make a judgement between timeliness and production cost. However, at least weekly triggered output is now affordably within the reach of most marketing departments.”

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