Direct mail or online – how do you communicate with retirees?

Do older people respond better to direct mail than email?


It’s been a long time since I was asked to write a printed piece of direct mail, but it seems that getting in touch by post is still relevant for older people.

According to figures from research group TGI 35% of retirees are likely to renew a service after a reminder in the post and are most likely to respond by post too.

Asked about its marketing strategy for a report supported by Royal Mail, Saga told Marketing Week that older recipients valued well-written letters that were personalised and to the point.

Similarly Well Pharmacy (previously the Co-operative Pharmacy) says it’s found that older customers prefer complex messaging as direct mail that they can read, consider and file or throw away as they see fit.

What’s important here is understand the preferred method of communication.

Younger retirees are likely to have spent at least the latter part of their working lives immersed in technology and are completely comfortable with the style and speed of email and social media.

While it’s difficult to draw lines according to age, it’s likely that the older the age group, the more likely they are to prefer traditional methods of communication.

The trick for marketers will be to discern where their customers sit in this sliding scale and communicate appropriately. With all the data available within their organisations today, it would good to think they can research previous interactions with each customer to get that communication right.

Image: GraphicStock

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