Consumer life stage shows detail of mail responsiveness.

Submitted by: Ulbe Jelluma 20/07/2016

 Royal Mail/Market Reach recently added a new piece of research to “the Private Life of Mail” and “This Time It’s Personal” studies. “The Life Stages of Mail” presents an understanding of how people from different ages consume, interact and feel about direct mail. The research is meant to provide answers to brand owners’ questions such as “will digital natives respond differently to mail than other groups or how is mail shared and discussed in different households".

While there are some differences on average, 26.7% of respondents across seven life stages (Fledglings, Sharers, Couples, Young Families, Older Families, Empty Nesters and Older Retirees) had bought or ordered something as a direct result of an item of mail they had received in the last 12 months. Across a wide range of questions regarding attitudes and behaviours Royal Mail found similar results. No group – regardless of their usage of technology – rejected mail as a relevant channel in their lives.

The seven life stages

Using UK specific data from TouchPoints 6, TGI and proprietary qualitative research, Royal Mail/Market Reach examined how each stage thought about mail, engaged with it and responded to it. From these observations, insights and tips were developed that advertisers can use to develop and assess direct mail relevant for each of the seven groups.

1. Fledglings ( c. 3 mio) – adults living in the home of their parents – have very little experience of marketing mail aimed at them.

To influence them, advertisers need to provide creative-led packs that fit with their social orientation, are highly personalised, and which indicate clearly how to respond to mail (since they don’t receive much mail). They should also provide a digital response mechanism.

2. Sharers (c 1.9 mio) are adults living in shared accommodation with other adults who may not be their partners.

They too are focused on social status, so high presentation values and clear personalisation is important. They are also the group most likely to respond to unaddressed mail and use it to start to build relationships with brands.

3. People living as Couples (c 6.4 mio) with neither children nor other adults in the accommodation can be of many ages and different relationship stages.

Their attitudes and behaviours regarding mail are very close to the sample index in most regards. But simple, stylish messaging and a slightly more mature tone of voice seems to be most appropriate.

4. Young Families (c. 8.5 mio) have one or more children none of whom are above primary school level.

They love mail. As they adapt to their new lives, mail informs, inspires and helps them choose and afford new products and services. They are more likely to respond than most other life stages and tend to do so online, often via smartphone. Keep messages easy to understand, upbeat and quick – they tend to be time poor.

5. Older Families (3.7 mio) have at least one child at secondary school living at home.

Like younger families, they use, share and respond to mail. And as older children get more involved in decision making, mail is often displayed and used communally. Appropriate mail should reflect this.

6. Empty Nesters (c. 10 mio) no longer have children living at home, but one or both partners may be economically active.

Some feel liberated by their children leaving home, while others are more concerned about funding their future. They respect print, and are willing to spend time reading and responding to relevant mail – particularly by phone.

7. Older Retirees (c. 6 mio) are singles or couples where neither partner has an income other than from pensions or investments.

They are often living in households managed by only one person. They respond well to relevant mail, but are also the most experienced with marketing messages. Treat them, the written word, and traditional values, with appropriate respect.  



How do Young Families engage and interact with mail?

As an example of the richness of the research we highlight the interaction by the Young Families segment.  As a result of receiving an item of addressed mail, they are more likely than the sample as a whole to: 

  • Have bought or ordered something (29.6%/index 111). 

  • Enquired for more information by phone (16.2%/index 124) or online (16%/index 124). 

  • Used a voucher (52.7%/index 107). 

  • Tried a new product (13.3%/index 113). 

  • Provided household information to a company (12.3%/index 114). 

  • Visited a store (23.1%/index 108). 

  • Paid more attention to an advertisement (11.1%/index 120). 

The research shows much more details on the interaction and attitudes toward mail (addressed and unaddressed). To find out more visit the Royal Mail/Market Reach site
 by clicking here