Marketing - Article | 4-min. read

Millennials and Mail: 5 Myths and the Truth Behind Them

With millennials poised to become the dominant force in the economy, companies must learn how to reach this demographic. U.S. consumers ages 18 to 34 engage with brands far more extensively than their older counterparts.1 It’s natural to assume this generation is only susceptible to digital media. It was born and raised on the Internet. But studies show, millennials engage with multiple marketing channels, including direct mail.2 In this article, we’ll dispel the biggest misconceptions about millennials and their relationship with mail. Plus, helpful tips for building a millennial-friendly direct mail campaign.

Myth 1: Print marketing is dead with millennials.

On the contrary, millennials value print.3 Research shows that these digitally engaged consumers are suffering from digital fatigue.4 Print marketing, on the other hand, has the ability to stand out. While millennials receive hundreds of emails every week, mail comes less frequently.5 The age group doesn’t have to tune out the messaging. According to a Gallup Poll, 95% of adults between 18 and 29 feel positively about receiving personal mail.6 They enjoy the tactile experience, use it to link to video content or promotional offers, even share it with friends.7

Ideas Worth Implementing: Studies show direct mail elicits a stronger emotional reaction than digital advertising.8 Use shaped mail to create more memorable, visually appealing content.

Myth 2: Millennials are digital addicts who only engage online.

Millennials are digital natives, but they’re not constantly connected. Millennials make up 31% of U.S. magazine readers and 20% of newspaper readers.9 And when they are online, they’re not always responding to digital marketing. Nearly half of millennials ignore digital ads. Pop-ups, banner ads and emails are also lost in the clutter of the Internet.10 Direct mail has the ability to cut through the noise. 88% of millennials see print on paper as more official than digital.11 With the right content, direct mail can be engaging.

Ideas Worth Implementing: Attendees of a USPS® focus-group study revealed they would be more likely to read direct mail if it had a message around an issue they cared about.12

Myth 3: Millennials do not see mail as relevant.

Though this demographic has grown up in a digital media landscape, they still interact with and enjoy direct mail. Studies have shown that 90% of people ages 25 to 34 find direct mail reliable, and 87% like receiving it.13 Opt for a cohesive omni-channel experience. By mentioning social media in direct mail copy, brands can bridge the gap between the print and digital worlds. Allow consumers to connect with your brand on your strongest social media channels.

Ideas Worth Implementing: Amplify your direct mail by tying in your social media accounts. Adding a social media brand icon to a mailer can lead more of your customers into your omni-channel experience.

Myth 4: Millennials do not trust the messages in direct mail.

Studies have shown the opposite to be true. Millennials do trust the messages in direct mail. 75% of millennials believe that direct mail is valuable.14 This age group actually trusts the information they receive in the mail over other media. 82% of millennials view messages printed on paper as more trustworthy than digital messages.15 When considering all the players in an omni-channel marketing campaign, mail can be used to deliver the most valuable messaging.

Ideas Worth Implementing: Use direct mail in conjunction with your digital marketing to highlight the most important product information and promotions associated with your campaign.

Myth 5: Millennials are not responsive to direct mail.

Wrong. Direct mail has been a successful sales driver for this demographic. In 2014, 28.9 million millennials made a purchase from a catalog.16 Because this age group isn’t as frequently exposed to direct mail as it is to other digital content, it hasn’t grown hardened to its effects.17 A truly potent marketing campaign incorporates both digital and print tactics, allowing mail to garner interest and move consumers closer towards a purchase, be it in-store or online.

usps_5-myths-and-the-truth-behind-them18

Ideas Worth Implementing: Incorporate an offer millennials will respond to, but don’t stop there. Personalize the messaging for an added touch.

In Conclusion

Though millennials are the generation of the future, it doesn’t take futuristic marketing to drive sales. Digital advertisements have a limited effect on this age group. As the media landscape changes and millennials come into their own, companies will have to become more attuned to the most potent marketing tactics, direct mail included.

1“The Reciprocity Principle: How Millennials Are Changing the Face of Marketing Forever,” Boston Consulting Group (BCG), January 2014.

2“Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse,” Quad/Graphics, March 2016.

3Ibid.

4Kurt Allen, “Live from Loyalty360 Expo: Best Western Rewards Bets on Millennials and Direct Mail,” Colloquy, April 29, 2015.

5“Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse,” Quad/Graphics, March 2016.

6Frank Newport and Steve Ander, “Four in 10 Americans Look Forward to Checking Mail,” Gallup, April 2, 2015. Copyright © (2015) Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. The content is used with permission; however, Gallup retains all rights of republication.

7“Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse,” Quad/Graphics, March 2016.

8“Enhancing the Value of the Mail: The Human Response (2015),” www.uspsoig.gov. Office of Inspector General United States Postal Service, June 15 2015.

9“The Psychology of Successfully Marketing to Millennials and How they Compare to Other Generations,” http://appliedpsychologydegree.usc.edu/resources/infographics/psychology-of-successfully-marketing-to-millennials.

10“Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse,” Quad/Graphics, March 2016.

11“Do Direct Mail Campaigns Still Work?” Divvy, http://divvyonline.com/do-direct-mail-campaigns-still-work-20150402, April 2, 2015.

12USPS focus group, January 2016.

13“Direct Mail vs. Social Media | Q&A Showdown,” Divvy, http://divvyonline.com/direct-mail-vs-social-media-20160115, January 15, 2016.

14Justin Restaino, “Millennials Prefer Direct Mail,” NMP, http://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/, December 22, 2015.

15“Do Direct Mail Campaigns Still Work?” Divvy, http://divvyonline.com/do-direct-mail-campaigns-still-work-20150402, April 2, 2015.

16“Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse,” Quad/Graphics, March 2016.

17“Millennials in Direct Mail Marketing,” One Stop Mail, 2013.

18“Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse,” Quad/Graphics, March 2016.

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