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Low-tech approaches reap highest online rewards: survey

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So what’s the piece of marketing that’s most likely to send customers to your website? An email, a Facebook like or a product review? In fact it’s nothing so high tech, according to new research from loyalty marketing company GI Insight. Rather, it’s a piece of post.

Direct mail is the single biggest driver, the company’s survey found, with 47% of consumers saying that more often than not they were prompted to visit a company website by something they received in the post. More than half (53%) of 18 to 24-year-olds said it was most often something they got in the post that sent them to a website.

Some 34% said that most of the direct marketing they take action on comes through the post, while 33% say they are more likely to respond to an email. A further third are more likely to take action if they receive a combination of post and email communications.

Moreover, more than half of UK consumers (52%) surveyed said they received more than half of the promotions and special offers they redeem in store or online through the post. Some 43% said direct mail kept around their home reminded them to visit a website or a shop.

Andy Wood, managing director of GI Insight, said: “These findings clearly demonstrate that direct mail is still an extremely powerful tool, even in the digital age, and plays a pivotal role in any business’ efforts to contact consumers – despite increasing use of email and regardless of the channel that consumers choose to actually purchase through.”

It seems that there’s also a gender divide. Men (37%) are more likely than women (32%) to act because they received a reminder as a follow-up to a piece of direct mail, while 49% of women visit a website because of something they received in the post, compared to 44% of men.

“The report highlights that the UK customer journey from marketing communication to in-store or website purchase is anything but linear,” said Wood. “There may be a number of messages that influence the consumer’s behaviour. Evidently, one of the real drivers of many purchases is the reminder – whether it is a piece of post set aside, or an email sent to reinforce a mailer. To ensure that these reminders are pertinent and part of an organic strategy, all dialogue with the customer must be informed by data and analysis.

“Only by embracing full customer insight and responding aptly to customer behaviour with relevant messages and offers can companies communicate more effectively and personally with individual consumers.”

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