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Study Shows Which Channels Consumers Trust Most

When consumers are asked about the marketing channels, they trust most when making a purchase decision, which ones come out on top? MarketingSherpa decided to find out. It asked consumers to sort the options into “ads I trust” and “ads I do not trust that much” categories, then reported them by generation. The channel most likely to be trusted by all generations? Direct mail.

Here is the percentage of respondents in each generation who say they trust direct mail when making a purchase decision:

  • Silent Generation (83%)
  • Baby Boomers (80%)
  • Generation X (77%)
  • Millennials (70%)

The Silent Generation (those born between 1925–1945) are the most likely to trust direct mail. The least likely to trust direct mail? Millennials (those born in the mid-1980s– mid-2000s). Still, a whopping 70% of this demographic say they trust direct mail when making a purchase decision. This is a powerful endorsement. When the lowest percentage of respondents is 70%, that is a channel with an extremely high trust factor.

While all generations have a strong level of trust in direct mail, it is still important to cater to the differences between them. For example:

  • The smaller print often used to save space in marketing pieces can be harder to read for older consumers. Consider increasing the font size when mailing to the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers.
  • All consumers like a deal, but Millennials, in particular, like to feel that they are receiving something special. For this audience, regularly consider offering some incentive.
  • For all target audiences, don’t forget physical coupons. While digital coupons are inexpensive and popular, physical coupons help drive traffic to brick and mortar stores.

Digital channels are critical to reaching consumers at all levels, but direct mail continues to be the bedrock of trust. How are you integrating direct mail into your overall mix?


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