The future role of mail

A range of benefits come from digital communications, among them speed, scale, convenience and cost-effectiveness, but printed mail still has a vital role to play. Capitalising on the value of physical mail can help optimise communications strategies for maximum return on investment.

The many different communications channels available today provide choice, but the sheer number of ways to communicate can make it even harder for messages to find their mark. There is simply so much ‘noise’ to contend with.

So much so, that Royal Mail MarketReach asserts: “Choosing the right channels to connect with people effectively has never been more important. Brand messages must work a lot harder to stand out and be remembered.”[i]

It helps to understand how customers use the range of channels to get the information they need. Royal Mail MarketReach used neuroscience - which measures subconscious brain responses – to explorei what sits behind the success of mail. The study provides a fascinating insight, revealing that the areas of the brain responsible for long-term memory encoding are activated 49 per cent more by mail than by email and 35 per cent more than by social media advertising.

Multi-channel management

Using a range of channels and tailoring message content for each heightens overall end-results. In this, mail plays an important role because:

  • Memory encoding for social media advertising was 44% higher when people had seen mail first
  • When primed by mail, people spent 30% longer looking at social ads.i

The goal is highly targeted, well-timed and relevant messages that reach customers in the right way. Such an approach maximises return on communications investment and stands to bolster customer satisfaction.

The same can be said for transactional communications. Electronic invoicing is convenient for some but may not work for all. The channels used to transact should suit each customer’s particular circumstances, be correctly targeted to the right person in the business and be properly addressed. 

Companies not connecting with customers in the right way may lose out

Customers are aware of the value of their personal information and can be increasingly selective when engaging with brands. If they don’t like what they receive, or they’re contacted in ways they don’t want to be, they will simply withdraw their consent to communications. In this, they are supported by regulation, not least the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It is therefore imperative to understand which channels work for customers and to meet preferences on how they wish to be contacted. Sometimes only mail will do, and many customers still have a strong preference for receiving communications in this way. Indeed, customers not online may be excluded if they’re not given the opportunity to stay in touch through traditional channels.

Routes to purchase aren’t always linear and may involve multiple touchpoints. Well thought out and integrated multi-channel communications campaigns that meet customer preferences on how they wish to be contacted stand the best chance of success and in this, mail can play a significant part.

To find out more about the qualities of physical mail and how to optimise communications strategies to take advantage of what mail has to offer, download our white paper The future role of mail.


[i] Why Mail Cuts Through: Measuring Mail’s Effectiveness with Neuroscience Royal Mail MarketReach, 2019

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