Which Demographics Respond to Direct Mail?

10 March 2020 / By Mike Gunderson
Which Demographics Respond to Direct Mail? on gundersondirect.com
Reading time: 4 minutes

Knowing and appreciating the value of direct mail is one thing Millennials and Baby Boomers have in common.

Understanding whom to send your direct mail to is incredibly important because every piece that doesn’t receive a response is reducing your ROI. Demographics are crucial for building a profitable mailing list because statistically, individuals in certain age groups are more likely to be receptive to direct mail offers than others.

It might surprise you to learn that older and younger adults pay the most attention to direct mail, while members of Generation X, who are right in the middle, are less likely to respond to your offers.

Here’s what you should know about how demographics respond to direct mail and whom to target with your next campaign.

Millennials appreciate direct mail

Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 prefer direct mail to email. The most likely reason for this trend is that younger people have been bombarded with spam emails and unwanted online advertising their whole lives, and now they’re are suspicious of unsolicited digital offers.

According to a study by research firm InfoTrends, 63% of Millennials read the print catalogs they receive in the mail and 65% have made a purchase based on direct mail marketing.

This segment of consumers accounts for about 25% of the population in the United States, so marketing to them makes a lot of sense, especially as an increasing number of millennials buy homes and have children.

It’s also worth noting that 83% of Millennials prefer mail to telemarketing and that this generation spends an average of 9.2 minutes sorting their letters, which is far longer than Generation Xers and Baby Boomers.

Millennials are more engaged with their mail and incredibly likely to actually read it, which is a trend you should consider when creating a direct mail marketing plan.

Older generations like direct mail, too

The only group of people that likes direct mail more than Millennials is those over the age of 65. This segment enjoys direct mail, and the preference is less due to mistrust of email than because they are comfortable receiving items in the mail.

When Baby Boomers were young, there was no such thing as email or the internet, but they’ve had no qualms about adopting it. Research shows that Baby Boomers shop online as much as anyone. However, Boomers are harder to move via online or mobile marketing, and they respond strongly to print and television more than Millennials or Gen X. As a result, mail is a powerful channel to move these potential buyers.

According to a survey conducted by the USPS, 93% would rather receive mail than a telemarketing phone call. Additionally, 83% value the reliability of mail and 82% say they’re more likely to buy from a business that mails them than they are through any other contact method.

It depends on what you’re selling

Of course, you have to consider more than just age when sending direct mail, because if a consumer has no interest in your product or can’t afford it, a sale is unlikely.

If you’re sending direct mail with fast food coupons, you can ignore income because most residents have the money to spend on these items due to their low cost. When you’re marketing the new Tesla, however, it’s a good idea to be a little more selective.

Depending on how much data you’ve collected, you can choose to focus on neighborhoods with higher property values when selling big-ticket items or focus on narrower parameters like individual income or even gender.

Pay attention to behavioral data

While age, income, and gender are fundamental factors in how individuals respond to direct mail offers, people in the same demographics will react differently to different offers. Just because someone appears to check most of your boxes, such as your ideal age and income demographics, that doesn’t mean he or she will respond to your offer.

Behavioral data shows you how individual customers have responded to your past marketing efforts, allowing you to create a custom demographic for your campaign. That way, you can segment your clients based on decision-making patterns, previous purchases, lifestyle, and consumption, allowing you to target each group in different ways.

Marketers no longer have to paint everyone with broad strokes; behavioral data allows you to move beyond wide-ranging demographics to pinpoint your ideal customers.

Finding your best customers

There’s no catch-all way to selecting the perfect demographic for your product or marketing, but by knowing who is more likely to respond, you can eliminate non-responsive prospects and give yourself the best chance of success.

Gunderson Direct can assist you throughout your direct mail marketing campaign, helping you target the demographics and behavioral segments that are most likely to appreciate and respond to your offers. We’re a full-service agency that can assist with every aspect of your marketing. Contact us today to find out how we can maximize the efficiency of your direct mail investments.

Avatar
About The Author

Mike Gunderson

Mike Gunderson is the founder of Gunderson Direct, Inc., a direct marketing agency that helps businesses drive new leads and close more sales through traditional offline channels, especially direct mail.