5 Myths about Millennials and Mail

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.

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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.

Why Personalization May Help You Win with Millennials

Personalization is the act of leveraging data and personal information to deliver individualized messages to prospects and current customers. As a marketing tool, it’s obviously not new; it’s been a driving force in promotion for years. However, millennials are changing the way we think about personalized marketing.

Personalization can be an effective method for drawing in and retaining millennials. This generation grew up in the digital age, curating its own content on social media platforms. They love DIY curation websites, where they can scour the web for ideas and contact a merchant to help them bring custom creations to life.

For millennials, personalized marketing can help drive loyalty and purchasing decisions. In fact, a survey by Access Development1 found only 12 percent of millennial respondents had an active dislike for marketing communications, which is unlike previous generations of buyers. An NPD Group survey2 showed that while older millennials use more loyalty apps and shop at big-box national retailers, younger millennials prefer specialty stores and buying wholesale.

Millennials are also more open to giving out personal information—especially if they get something in return. According to research from Aimia3, half of millennials would share personal details to join a rewards program, while 36 percent of millennials would do so to gain access to a website.


The information age makes personalization even more personal. It seems a fair trade-off; if someone offers a business their personal info, the business should use it with care and specificity. Here’s what marketers should keep in mind to meet millennials where they are—and where they’d like to be:

Market with Personalization in Mind

Personalizing goods and services for the millennial crowd takes more than just attaching a name to an email or a direct mail flier. If we examine the rise of customizable menus in fast-casual restaurants, which allow its patrons to craft their own custom food creations, we see that many customers enjoy having more personalized options. A survey from Bond4 found that 55 percent of U.S. millennials would like access to personalized experiences and services that huge companies don’t have the bandwidth to provide.

Small and medium-sized businesses can take these lessons and apply the strategies to their own marketing campaigns. To entice the millennial consumer, customization may be the key. Companies can present options, though not too many, to appeal to the principles this value-driven generation loves. This is a shared trait between younger and older millennials; a Cone Communications poll5 showed that 92 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 91 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds would be willing to switch to brands associated with good causes.

The rise in popularity of curated subscription box services – from makeup to collectibles to pet supplies – is a perfect example of successful personalization in marketing. A beauty company has subscribers fill out a profile that asks basic questions about skin tone, type, and personal style. Based on the answers, it mails out five samples on a monthly basis. Subscribers try them out and have the option to buy full sizes of items they love.

Enhance Your Strategy

Small and medium-sized businesses should consider weaving personalization into their marketing, from the services they offer to their direct mail campaigns. Remember, what worked in the past may still be effective, but you may have to rethink your strategy and focus on tailored, individualized content for a crowd that expects customization and big value.

Consider what happened not too long along when a late night comedy host was taking potshots at politicians who sent mass emails with the respondent’s name in the tag. It pretended to be personal, but once you read a line or two, it was obviously just another form letter. Don’t fall into the trap of pretending to be personal—it’s important to actually engage with your consumer on a personal level.

Are you ready to personalize your direct mail for millennials? Check out “Reaching Millennials: The Role of DM.” It’s an informative guide that may help businesses bridge the communication gap—and generation gap—with millennial consumers.