Direct Mail — Forever Young

25 July 2018 / By James Madison
Authentic Marketing Speaks to Millennials

Currently, there are over 92 million millennials in the U.S.¹ They spend over $65 billion each year, and hold a whopping $1 trillion in purchase influencing power.² It’s easy to see why this generation is viewed as such a lucrative target for marketers who feverishly work to capture their attention.

Millennials are clearly the most tech-savvy generation in history. But stereotype would have it that digital marketing, and especially social media marketing, are the best channels for trying to reach them, while offline channels like direct mail are better suited for older generations, like baby boomers, and couldn’t possibly appeal to millennials.

Not exactly, and that’s the problem with stereotypes. Surprisingly, millennials are found to side more with traditional forms of advertising—direct mail in particular—than is generally believed. According to a USPS Mail Moments study, 84 percent of millennials take the time to read through their mail. Furthermore, 64 percent would rather scan mail for useful information versus scanning an email.³ Starting to see a trend?

Feeling digital fatigue?

If there is one key takeaway that should resonate with you after reading this, it’s that direct mail breaks through the daily communications clutter—it gets noticed. In today’s world, we are constantly surrounded by, and oversaturated with, digital advertising of all types. This “digital fatigue” leads to consumers ignoring digital ads. Ever found yourself only looking at certain parts of a web page because you know the rest of the page is filled with ads? Nearly 50 percent of millennials state that they ignore digital ads while only 15 percent say they ignore direct mail.

Being noticed is just the start. There are two key reasons why direct mail appeals to millennials: engagement and perceived authenticity. Prospects spend more time with physical ads than with digital ads. That has a ripple effect. Spending more time with a physical piece of mail can lead to a higher likelihood of message recall later on. That also adds to a greater perception of authenticity. And the perception of authenticity is a key factor in motivating millennials to make a purchase.⁵ And all of that equates to a higher response rate.

In conclusion, direct mail is a channel worth exploring no matter who you are trying to target. And, if it happens to be millennials, then here are a few extra tips courtesy of the USPS:

  • Keep your messaging succinct and easy to read. Provide bite-size pieces of information.
  • Be authentic. Millennials distrust traditional advertising, so avoid hard-sell language. Use a straightforward, transparent approach.
  • Use enhancements such as scent, sound, or texture to make your piece stand out.
  • Help them feel good about their purchase. Millennials are compassionate and want to improve their world. Campaigns that donate a percentage of profits to a worthy cause or in some other way demonstrate corporate responsibility can resonate — if they’re seen as authentic.
  • Use slang with caution, even if you are a millennial. You risk turning off your audience.

One final note: If you’re interested in trying out direct mail and adding it to your marketing mix, then drop us a line. We’re standing by to answer any questions you might have, and most importantly, to help you get your mail opened.


¹ http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/
²http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2017/nielsen-unveils-first-comprehensive-study-on-the-purchasing-power-of-multicultural-millennial.html
³USPS Mail Moments: 2016 Review, March 2016.
⁴Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse, Quad/Graphics, March 2016.
⁵Enhancing the Value of Mail: The Human Response, USPS Office of Inspector General, June 15, 2015.

James Madison
About The Author

James Madison

James studied business marketing at St. Mary’s College of CA and has worked in everything from account management to graphic design. With his background he will make sure your work succeeds while looking good too! A basketball fan, skier, and dog lover; James has many interests but those are just a few.

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