Royal Mail research finds ‘valued’ mail provokes action and emotional response

Sarah Cosgrove
Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mail can have a high impact and provide a strong incentive to act according to new research by Royal Mail MarketReach, which looked at why people found post valuable and why.

Jonathan Harman, managing director of Royal Mail MarketReach
Jonathan Harman, managing director of Royal Mail MarketReach

The research, detailed in a report, This Time It’s Personal published yesterday, asked 3,000 people to identify up to three items of post they found useful and/or interesting, which researchers from independent agency Quadrangle then defined as ‘valued’. They did not record what percentage of the total mail recieved by participants was considered ‘valued’, however.

Researchers found 92% of respondents had an emotional response to such mail, and the same percentage took action as a result. Nearly half (42%) purchased, renewed or donated as a direct result of opening their valued post.

But the mail also had indirect brand benefits for advertisers: 37% decided to search for more information online, 33% discussed the mail with others, 29% planned a future purchase, 18% recommended the brand to friends or family, 7% posted a positive message on social media and 6% downloaded an app. A total of 73% kept the post they had received for future reference.

And 85% of respondents were most likely to perceive mail as having value when it comes from an advertiser with which they have an existing relationship. Almost as many, 83%, said the mail kept them up to date; 65% that it told them something new and more than half, 58% and 57% thought the post they received told them about new products or services and offers and promotions respectively. 

Managing director of Royal Mail MarketReach Jonathan Harman said the researchers asked the recipients themselves to define what mail they valued.

“This covered all types of mailings, not just glossy brochures or loyalty vouchers. Statements, reminders, confirmations and simple updates were chosen by many to be representing what they found useful and/or interesting.

“This research validates what we’ve always known about valued mail – that it drives direct action – but that it also opens up new areas for advertisers that have lasting beneficial effects on the advertiser brand.

“There’s a clear gain here for advertisers who understand this and leverage mail for both direct action and positive brand effect. This research also demonstrates the need for better metrics for mail in order to capture its positive brand benefits.”

Quadrangle studied six market sectors for the report: financial services, retail, public sector, charities, travel and telecoms/utilities. The findings are part of an on-going study by Royal Mail MarketReach to improve advertiser understanding of the role of mail and its impact. The full This Time It’s Personal report can be downloaded from

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