Direct mail proves invaluable to vulnerable people during the pandemic


A new report from the DMA reveals that throughout the pandemic, mail played an essential part in supporting vulnerable groups with services that improved their lives and empowered individuals.

It outlines how individual channels performed with the aim of giving a guide to best practice and creating a well-balanced approach to customer communication.

The report cites 2019 figures from the Financial Conduct Authority that showed half of UK consumers – 24.1 million people – displayed one of more characteristics of potential vulnerability. As a result of the pandemic, this had risen to 27.7 million.

The aim of the guide is to explore how to support these customers in the most effective way.

It urges organisations to consider how vulnerable customers respond to communications. For example, if a consumer writes to a company, an email or WhatsApp message is unlikely to be the most appropriate form of response.

Included in the report is a checklist of responses into how 11 different forms of communication including SMS, chatbots and email performed when used by people with varying issues. The only channel that addressed every challenge – from being visually accessible to offering personalised content – was mail.

It was concluded that direct marketing is essential in supporting vulnerable groups with services and opportunities to empower them as individuals, improve their lives and bring about social change.

For the direct mail industry these findings will come as no surprise. The benefits of mail as a supportive communication channel have long been known. However, what is key is protecting the vulnerable. And this means ensuring best practice data management particularly when communicating with those who are considered vulnerable because of their age. This demographic has a higher death rate than any other group and therefore it is critical to ensure that all mailings are screened against a deceased suppression file before being sent out so that anyone that has passed away is removed from the mailing list. This is important since bereaved families find receiving mail in the name of the deceased very distressing.

For information about deceased suppression please don’t hesitate to contact us.