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How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail Marketing

White Paper - 5 Min. Read -

When trying to engage millennials, don’t discount the power of print. See how this generation thinks of and responds to direct mail, and explore how you can get started with a campaign of your own.

A woman dressed in yellow working on her computer.

You know the stereotype: Millennials are digital natives, glued to their smartphones, and the only way for marketers to reach them is through social media.

The truth is, millennials respond to a marketing channel that’s been around for centuries and is now more dynamic and actionable than ever: paper in a mailbox.

85% of millennials take the time to look through their mail.[1]
82% of millennials say receiving a handwritten letter, note or greeting card in the mail still has a lot of value for them.[2]

This white paper is designed to help you better understand how and why millennials respond to mail, how mail compares with other marketing channels, and how to create an appealing mailpiece for this generation.

How Millennials Think of—and Act on—Direct Mail

Let’s take a look at how millennials feel about mail. Here are some revealing statistics:

85% of millennials take the time to look through their mail to make sure they’re not discarding useful information.[3]
68% of millennials would be upset if they no longer received mail.[4]
79% of millennials look forward to seeing what they’ve received in their mailbox.[5]
52% of millennials are more likely to make a purchase from a company that advertises to them using both direct mail and digital methods.[6]

How Millennials Differ from Nonmillennial Adults

Compared with the Gen X and baby boomer generations, millennials are the most likely to take action on marketing mail.

Frequently and occasionally bring marketing mail into retail stores[7]


Frequently and occasionally use marketing mail as a prompt to go online[8]


Prefer to shop at stores that advertise to them through mail[9]


Regularly purchase items featured in marketing mail[10]


How Direct Mail Can Break Through the Clutter

For the younger generations, direct mail could come as a welcome respite from digital inundation.

62% of millennials tend to read through the advertising mail they receive, rather than discarding it without reading.[11]
Apparently direct mail—which comes only once a day—has become a novelty to this audience. Privacy concerns may also play a role here, with 57% of millennials worrying less about mail privacy than digital communications privacy.[12]

This means you have a great opportunity to excite and engage millennials through innovative campaigns incorporating direct mail marketing.

Appealing to Millennial Values

The following tips can help you create engaging mailpieces for millennials, whether your goal is to acquire customers, generate interest in a specific promotion, or build customer loyalty.

  • Incorporate multimedia and digital. Embed QR Codes®[13], near field communication (NFC) or augmented reality (AR) to link your mailer to videos and interactive materials on your website or social media.
  • Keep your messaging succinct and easy to read. Provide bite-sized pieces of information.
  • Be authentic. Sixty-nine percent of millennials say direct mail feels more personal than online digital communications.[14] So try to avoid hard-sell language and instead use a straightforward, transparent approach.
  • Use retargeted direct mail to match customers’ IP addresses to their physical addresses. This allows you to follow up with personalized direct mail based on users’ actions on your website, mobile app, email or social media.
  • Help them feel good about their purchase. Millennials believe that brands have a responsibility to help make the world a better place.[15] Campaigns that donate a percentage of profits to a worthy cause or in some other way demonstrate corporate responsibility can resonate well—if they’re seen as authentic.
  • Use slang with caution, even if you are a millennial. You risk turning off your audience.

Millennial Mail Ideas: Bike Shop Postcard

Here are some examples of direct mailpieces that could work well with the millennial generation.

This fictional mailpiece uses simple, straightforward language to encourage prospects to improve their lives by buying a new commuter bicycle.

The mailpiece incorporates a digital component that entices prospects to visit a personalized URL, where they will receive a 10% discount and can take an interactive quiz.

Information gathered through the quiz will not only help the potential buyer decide on the right type of bike, but will also help the company provide better service. The mailer ends with an appeal to millennials’ desire to improve the world—in this case by reducing their carbon footprint.


Millennial Mail Ideas: Diaper Delivery Service Letter

This fictional mailpiece for a diaper delivery company employs down-to-earth language to appeal to new parents who may be reluctant to use cloth diapers because of the work involved. The letter touches on a desire of parents everywhere—to leave the world a better place for their children.

The business leverages the Informed Delivery® feature to send digital ride-along content before the mailpiece arrives. This allows the company to drive customers to the company website to sign up for a free week of service.


Key Takeaway

Businesses have more avenues than ever to engage with customers, but that also means customers are continually bombarded with marketing messages.

Working in concert with digital efforts, a thoughtful direct mail campaign can help you capture millennials’ attention and, ultimately, convert them into loyal customers.

  1. [1]“USPS Mail Moments: 2020 Review,” United States Postal Service, 2020.
  2. [2]Ibid.
  3. [3]Ibid.
  4. [4]Ibid.
  5. [5]Ibid.
  6. [6]Ibid.
  7. [7]Ibid.
  8. [8]Ibid.
  9. [9]Ibid.
  10. [10]Ibid.
  11. [11]Ibid.
  12. [12]Ibid.
  13. [13]QR Code is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED.
  14. [14] Research — Full Report, Qualitative and Quantitative Results, Summit Research, February 2021.
  15. [15]“Causes/Charity & Activism Report: Gen Z and Millennial research, trends, and insights,” YPulse, January 2020.
  16. [16]“Does Daily Commuting Behavior Matter to Employee Productivity?” Journal of Transport Geography, Volume 76, April 2019.

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