A recent international study reveals two key elements in reaching new clients are understanding the potential customer and making a good first impression by delivering the message in a compelling package. This post discloses recent market research which exposes the importance of first impressions and targeting prospective clients.
The study was conducted in United States and Germany by the marketing research firm Nielsen Company and the advertising agency RAPP Germany. It study focused on the effectiveness of different mailing appeals to potential customers. It tested how various types of direct mail compared with each other, and with e-mail solicitations. With today’s customers being bombarded with so many messages, the two companies wanted to see which packaging was opened most often and responded to the best.
They did this by creating a fictional travel agency called Top Travel Tours and sending advertisements to 1,800 people in the U.S. and Germany. The mailing tested five different versions of direct mail: a standard envelope, a self-mailer, a wrapper, an e-mail and a brochure in a creatively printed envelope with the prominent logo of the company name and a color photo on the front of a vacationing couple walking a beach.
The promotion was a customized holiday package, and they tested it with mailings to individuals expected to be interested in such matters along with a secondary group that was expected to be uninterested.
The ad piece that was opened and read most often was the brochure in a creative printed envelope. It was opened and read by 84.5 percent of the recipients.
Second was the e-mail message, opened and read by 80 percent of the recipients. The standard envelope was third, with 75.6 percent, the self-mailer fourth with 71.4 percent and the wrapper last with 71.2 percent.
The physical brochure in a printed envelope was also the most likely to be valued enough to be passed on to others. This happened in 14.2 percent of the printed envelopes opened and read, almost twice as often as the e-mail recipients.
The study results also emphasize the importance of sending mail to a specific addressee rather than an impersonal mass mailing. People who got non-individualized mailings were three times more likely to throw them into the trash unopened. More than 44 percent of the people who received the personally addressed brochure in the custom-printed envelope said they would investigate the offer further on line, while only 36.6 percent of the people who read non-individualized mailing recipients said they would do likewise. The people who received individually addressed mailings were also more likely to pass the brochure on to someone else.
Those expected to be uninterested in the vacation package turned out to be far more likely to throw the letter away without reading it, although the ones that did read the brochure recalled its contents as well as those expected to be interested in it. Using a mailing list provider to target an audience and personalize a message is an essential component in getting a message across.
The data paints a clear picture of the modern customer holding a handful of mail or scanning a long list of fresh e-mail messages. The first impression is a key element that demands attention, because the message is not even opened and read if the recipient doesn’t find it attractive and interesting.
While not as fast and easy to develop and distribute as email, physical mail in a compelling envelope addressed directly to the customer has the greatest appeal and is most likely to be read and remembered by the customer.
The study also found that older people tend to open their e-mail advertisements more often than younger recipients, who tend to expect more from their communications. “Younger audiences know both the advantages and disadvantages of electronic communication,” the study concluded. Younger people tend to find physical mail more genuine and appreciate the change in mediums living in a technology driven society.
Which advertisements have made a lasting first impression on you and what factors caused that caused that reaction?