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Millennials and Mail: 5 Myths and the Truth Behind Them

Article - 4 Min. Read

Digital marketing isn’t the only way to reach the Millennial generation. Discover how direct mail plays into the equation.

A woman reading a brochure in the kitchen.

To drive action among Millennials, companies must learn how to create campaigns that resonate with this demographic.

U.S. Millennial consumers engage with brands via social media follows, website browsing, mobile app usage and text message subscriptions more than their Gen X and baby boomer counterparts—and, in fact, even more than their Gen Z counterparts.[1] It’s natural to assume that this generation is only susceptible to digital media. After all, they were born and raised on the internet.

In this article, we’ll dispel some of the biggest misconceptions about Millennials and their relationship with mail while providing some helpful tips for building a Millennial‑friendly omnichannel campaign.

Print marketing is dead among millennials.

Millennials are not nearly as print-averse as people may think: One study shows that 74% of them read print books.[2] Research also shows that these digitally engaged consumers are suffering from digital fatigue. In fact, in one survey of Americans, 37% of Millennial respondents said they received marketing emails “way too often,” and 22% said they received “a few too many”.[3]

Print marketing, on the other hand, has the ability to stand out. While Millennials receive hundreds of emails every week, mail comes less frequently. As a result, this age group doesn’t feel the need to tune out the messaging. In one survey of Millennials, 62% of respondents said they had visited a store in the past month based on information received in the mail—more often than Gen Xers or boomers had.[4]

Ideas Worth Implementing: Studies show that Millennials spent more time with physical ads than digital ads.[5] Take advantage of this, and use your mailpieces to create memorable, visually appealing content.

Millennials are digital addicts who only engage online.

Millennials may be digital natives, but it’s not the only medium they consume. One study shows that 33% of Millennials have an active subscription to a newspaper or magazine.[6] And when they are online, they’re not always responding to digital marketing. Millennials are twice as likely as boomers to use ad blockers.[7] In addition, only 19% of Millennials report opening marketing emails “always” or “frequently”.[8]

Ideas Worth Implementing: Send consumers customized mailpieces. In one study, it was shown that targeting on a 1:1 level increases response rates by 50%.[9]

Millennials do not think mail is relevant.

Though this demographic has grown up in a digital media landscape, they still interact with and enjoy direct mail. In one survey of Millennials, 75% of respondents said receiving personal mail makes them feel special.[10] So opt for a cohesive omnichannel experience. By mentioning social media in direct mail copy, brands can bridge the gap between the print and digital worlds.

Ideas Worth Implementing: Amplify your direct mail by tying in your social media accounts. Simply including a QR Code® leading customers to one of your social channels can provide an engaging omnichannel experience.[11]

Millennials do not trust direct mail.

Research has shown the opposite to be true. In one study, it was found that 58% of Millennials worry less about direct mail privacy than digital communications privacy.[12] And Millennials value direct mail in general: 69% of Millennials said they “somewhat” or “very much” like coupons for restaurants, and 65% said they like coupons for retail businesses.[13]

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.

Millennials are not responsive to direct mail.

Wrong. Direct mail has actually been a successful sales driver for this demographic, and studies show that physical ads leave a lasting impression on both younger and older demographics.[14] A truly potent marketing campaign incorporates both digital and print tactics, allowing mail to garner interest and move consumers closer to purchase, be it in-store or online.

Ideas Worth Implementing: Give customers the opportunity to engage with your brand by allowing them to respond to mail via digital channels.
Informed Delivery® campaigns, for example, not only provide customers with digital previews of their physical mail, but can also include complementary digital offers such as an internet promo code for an item being advertised in your mailpiece.

What are you most surprised to learn about the millennial demographic?

In Conclusion

Although Millennials are digital natives, it doesn’t take futuristic marketing to drive sales. In fact, digital advertisements have a limited effect on this age group. As the media landscape changes and Millennials continue to come into their own, companies will have to become more attuned to the most potent marketing tactics for this generation—direct mail included.

  1. [1]“Share of consumers who use selected methods to communicate with brands in the United States as of November 2018, by generation,” A. Guttmann, Statista, Sept. 17, 2019.
  2. [2]“Marketing and media usage among U.S. Millennials,” Statista, Jun. 4, 2019.
  3. [3]“The Inbox Report: Consumer Perceptions of Email,” Fluent LLC, 2018.
  4. [4]“Millennials and the Mail,” USPS Office of Inspector General, Jul. 30, 2018.
  5. [5]“Advertising Effectiveness and Age,” USPS Office of Inspector General, Feb. 25, 2019.
  6. [6]“Share of consumers with an active newspaper or magazine subscription in the United States as of February 2017, by age group,” Amy Watson, Statista, April 13, 2018.
  7. [7]“US Ad Blocking Users, by Generation, 2019,” eMarketer, Aug. 2018.
  8. [8]“The Inbox Report: Consumer Perceptions of Email,” Fluent LLC, 2018.
  9. [9]“2018 Statistical Fact Book: The Ultimate Source for Data-Driven Marketing Insight,” ANA | DMA, Jan. 29, 2019.
  10. [10]“Millennials and the Mail,” USPS Office of Inspector General, Jul. 30, 2018.
  11. [11]QR Code® is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED.
  12. [12]“USPS Mail Moments: 2019 Review,” 2019.
  13. [13]“Millennials and the Mail,” USPS Office of Inspector General, Jul. 30, 2018.
  14. [14]“Advertising Effectiveness and Age,” USPS Office of Inspector General, Feb. 25, 2019.

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