What Gets Envelopes Opened

I ran across a great article that was re-printed in “Print in the Mix” by Rochester Institute of Technology /Print Council**, and felt it was important enough to keep referencing, so I thought I would share it.
Pitney Bowes commissioned a study to identify factors that could influence when and whether recipients would open their mail and read it. The survey of 1,500 U.S. adults examined preferences, attitudes, and behaviors about mail as received at home. For the study, participants were presented with graphic depictions of envelopes to determine which features would make them most likely to open them. They examined an average of 16 screens, each containing four randomized envelopes, to test for variables including the presence of text, graphics, and color on envelope fronts and backs.

Key findings:

  • What’s printed on the front of the envelope strongly influences when and whether it gets opened.
  • Recipients are 69% more likely to open a mail piece with color text and graphics on the front, before opening pieces with no headline or graphic.
  • Given a choice of color graphics or black-and-white text, mail recipients are 2.5 times more likely to open envelopes with color graphics first.
  • What’s printed on the back of the envelope is less influential.
  • Six out of 10 (57%) hardly ever notice what is printed on the back of an envelope when sorting through or opening their mail.
  • However, as with the front of the envelope, the study indicates the presence of color text and graphics on the envelope’s back is significantly more likely to influence the decision to open, rather than black-and-white only.
  • Mail recipients favor print mail to email for bills, invoices and financial statements, as well as most catalogs and promotions.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of recipients prefer to receive catalogs by physical mail.
  • Six out of 10 (61%) favor receiving bills and invoices by physical mail.

Nearly the same numbers of mail recipients (59%) prefer to receive financial or bank statements by physical mail, as opposed to email.
About: The February 23-March 3, 2010 online survey of 1,503 opt-in research panelists (age 18+) was conducted by Leflein Associates, on behalf of Pitney Bowes. The sample margin of error of = +/-2%.
Source: Pitney Bowes, Color Makes a Noticeable Difference, 2010.

**About The Print Council
The Print Council is a business development alliance formed by leaders in the graphic arts industry whose goal is to influence and promote the greater use of print media. Through education, awareness, market development, advocacy, and research, The Print Council serves the industry to develop, maintain, and increase the market for printed goods. In addition, the Council works closely with industry associations, ongoing initiatives, and relevant user groups that share common goals.
For more information, please contact Executive Director Ben Cooper at bycooper@wms-jen.com or info@theprintcouncil.org.
Visit The Print Council at theprintcouncil.org