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Address to Impress

This briefing paper from An Post is designed to help you reconnect your brand with Ireland’s young generation. We can’t promise it will be the elixir of youth, but it just might help you find the next generation of customers before they are lost forever.

Ageing Brands

A lot of brands in Ireland have an awkward problem. They’re getting older and they don’t know what to do about it. Across different sectors and different industries, a growing number of product and service brands are failing to connect with younger Irish consumers. They are in danger of losing a generation right when they can least afford it.

There are a number of common themes to the problem of ageing brands:

  • The recession has raised a generation of price conscious consumers who will carry an austerity mindset with them into their later adult life… even as incomes rise.
  • The ‘digital shock’ (for that’s the only way to describe it) has seen unprecedented numbers of Irish consumers – led by our youth – adopt broadband, smartphone and tablet technologies at faster rates than any  other technologies... ever.
  • Emigration, actual and potential, has clued in our younger generation to opportunities, alternatives and options that inevitably weakens their ties to Ireland… and to Irish brands.

It’s a real problem alright. Fortunately there is also a readily available solution. Marketers now have the tools to reach, engage and retain young Irish consumers in ways that are cheap, effective and appropriate to their brand images and positions. And no, we don’t mean the latest Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter social marketing platform. Rather, we’re talking about… the post. That’s right: those paper envelopes you get through your letter box most days.

Think about it. Post is something you take for granted, just like teenagers take wi-fi for granted. But most young people don’t actually receive that much post. When it comes to direct mail they’re not so much the lost generation as the forgotten generation. So much so that receiving post is something of a novelty for Irish youths. No wonder 65% of 18–25 year olds say they are excited when they receive post. What percentage do you think is excited to receive another advertisement on their Facebook News Feed? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.

66% of 18 – 25 year olds prefer receiving vouchers or club card loyalty rewards in the post

Attitudes towards Post

We see the funny side of it too; positioning a medium that is more than 300 years old as the saviour of beleaguered youth marketers! But the facts are the facts; Ireland’s young people have an entirely different, quite novel perception of post in general and direct mail in particular. It’s personal media, not social media; and it’s something tangible in a world gone completely digital. Let us share a few facts with you so you can better understand those young customers you are so keen to connect with. We reckon you’ll be more than surprised at the following statistics:

65% get excited opening/checking for post compared with 47% of all adults 71% enjoy receiving post compared with 69% of all adults 55% are disappointed when there is no post for them compared with 45% of all adults

Attitudes towards Advertising

Most businesses in Ireland today are outside the ‘circle of trust’. Restoring trust is one of the most important priorities for many household Irish brands. The job has already begun, but progress is slow. If anything, our research suggests that trust has weakened further in recent years. But difficult a task as it is restoring trust with customers who trusted you before; restoring trust with young people who haven’t yet become customers is a significantly harder task. Nevertheless, it can be done – simply use the media that young people trust as part of your loyalty strategy. Fortunately for you with this audience, the post is one of the most trusted media of them all.

Makes me feel more loyal towards a company

Makes me feel more loyal towards a company36% TV
32% Addressed letters/leaflets
25% Email
21% Newspapers
17% Radio
16% Magazines
10% Fliers/leaflets through the door
10% Ads on websites
10% Posters outside

Encourages me to buy a product or service

Encourages me to buy a product or service58% TV
28% Magazines
27% Newspapers
22% Radio
18% Posters outside
15% Addressed letters/leaflets
15% Email
14% Ads on websites
12% Fliers/leaflets through the door
7% Ads on social networks
6% Leaflets inserted into bills

How trustworthy do you find advertising from the following media channels?

How trustworthy do you find advertising from the following media channels?66% Newspapers
63% Radio
63% TV
51% Posters outside
50% Magazines
45% Addressed letters/leaflets
31% Fliers/leaflets through the door
31% Leaflets inserted into bills
29% Email
26% Ads on social networks
20% Ads on websites
17% Text


Makes me interested in a product, service or company

Makes me interested in a product, service or company65% TV
34% Magazines
32% Newspapers
24% Radio
22% Email
22% Posters outside
17% Fliers/leaflets through the door
17% Ads on websites
16% Addressed letters/leaflets
11% Ads on social networks
2% Text

56% of 18 – 25 year olds would prefer to continue to receive Direct Mail than to not receive any Direct Mail at all.

Disconnect between Marketers and Youth

Irish Marketing decision makers were asked to rate the effectiveness of email and direct mail when talking to 18 – 25 year olds. It shows that almost three quarters of marketers are not using a medium that most 18 – 25 year olds adore receiving.

Response to whether Direct Mail or Email is more effective at targeting 18 – 25 year olds

 17% Disagree Strongly 25% Disagree 18% Agree 6% Agree Strongly 34% Neither/Don't know
5% Disagree Strongly 10% Disagree 33% Agree 21% Agree Strongly 31% Neither/Don't Know

Makes me feel like a valued customer

Shopping & Spending

This generation are the savviest shoppers Ireland has ever known. Not only have they more choices than ever before, they have more channels through which they can exercise their choice.

That’s a tough environment for Irish brands seeking to stand out, but it can be done. There is an unprecedented willingness on the part of young consumers to share and engage with brands that make a difference in their lives. Even among digital natives…

Spending Patterns compared to this time last year

Spending Patterns compared to this time last year:

  •     28% spending a lot or a little more
  •     42% spending a lot or a little less

    Categories purchased over the internet in the past month:

  1. Clothing - 50%
  2. Entertainment % Travel - 40%
  3. Electronics - 34%
  4. Music to download - 26%
  5. CDs or DVDs - 20%
  • 51% say although they buy online, they still like to browse a catalogue/brochure
  • 54% say they often see extra items they would like to buy, when they have a brochure/catalogue while shopping
  • 88% of females under 25 are members of a loyalty programme

Methodology for Research

Amárach Research has conducted a number of surveys examining the trends of Direct Mail in Ireland on behalf of An Post. This has been explored from both the point of view of the consumer and also from the marketer’s perspective.The most recent consumer study was conducted during February and March 2013.It encompasses an online sample of 1,000 respondents representative of the Republic of Ireland with an additional booster sample of two hundred and fifty 18 – 25 year old respondents.This business study is the most recent wave of An Post’s tracking research with businesses. It was conducted online in February 2013 with a sample of one hundred and fifty Irish decision makers.