In January, public relations firm Edelman released released their annual Trust Barometer, finding Americans' trust in businesses fell to 46 percent in 2010 – down from the 54 percent noted the year before.
The likely cause? The financial collapse and the ensuing economic recession.
As consumer confidence and trust is vital to business sales and, especially, marketing, companies need to be especially careful in how they communicate with customers and promote their services.
When it comes to direct mail – a medium that is already a bit contested – it is important that marketers write copy that relates to the financial stresses of consumers. Be real, and remember that even attempts to "relate" may be taken as devious sales pitches if they are not done in a tasteful way.
"It is necessary to be sensitive to their emotional needs even though you must catch their attention," says the website Stock Markets Review. "By providing a solution and appealing to their emotional needs, you will come out stronger and more real than your competitors."
The economic downturn affected small businesses and consumers alike, so use that basic point as a means of connection. Don't abuse it, but be forthright.