Millennials and Direct Mail: A Winning Combination for Marketers

Capturing the attention and spending power of Millennials continues to be a priority and marketing objective for almost all brands. Now between the ages of 19-36, more than half of older Millennials are married and half of those have children. While they currently account for 25% of the population, Forbes reports that by 2020 Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce. So, marketers are right to take note of the incredible buying power this demographic has and will continue to have in the future.

One of the biggest misnomers about Millennials is that they are totally “tech-dependent” and that they do all research, banking and shopping online. Yes, they are “digital natives”, with 97% owning smartphones and checking them more than 150 times a day. But, that does not mean that they are not influenced by other communication methods.

As an example, Millennials actually report enjoying receiving direct mail. In fact, according to the InfoTrends study “Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: U.S. Report”, Millennials are the most likely of any generation to read direct mail.


10 Fast Facts About Millennials and Direct Mail

1. 75% of Millennials find that the mail they receive is valuable. (Source)

2. 92% of Millennials are influenced by direct mail to make purchase decisions, as opposed to 78% influenced by email. (Source)

3. 90% of Millennials said they would prefer postal delivery over email when receiving promotional items. (Source)

4. 82% of Millennials read direct mail from retail brands and more than half (54%) look forward to receiving hard-copy retail catalogs in the mail. (Source)

5. 73% of Millennials use direct mail coupons when making purchases. (Source)

6. 63% of Millennials who responded to a direct mail piece within the past three months made a purchase. (Source)

7. 90% of Millennials think direct mail advertising is reliable. (Source)

8. 80% of Millennials want brands to entertain them, and they find direct mail entertaining. (Source)

9. 50% of Millennials ignore digital ads, yet only 15% say they ignore direct mail. (Source)

10. 47% of Millennials like the daily discovery of what’s new in their mailbox and 89% retrieve their mail and sort it at the first available opportunity. (Source)

The next time you are considering ways to engage and reach Millennials, try incorporating direct mail in your marketing mix. Word of caution: this demographic, more than any other, notices print, paper, and image quality. Don’t skimp on the quality and production of the direct mail communication you create. Millennials also notice personalization and customization and get offended when it is wrong.

Tips to consider when designing direct mail for Millennials:

1. Identify with them. Remember, they aren’t kids. They are adults with needs and the consumer spending power to match. Personalization and customization are key.

2. Keep your messaging succinct and easy-to-read. Focus on how your service or product will make their lives easier or add more enjoyment in bite-size pieces.

3. Consider their values and beliefs and make a connection. Success does not equal money to this demographic. Happiness, work-life balance, and giving back are important to them. Consider the use of recycled paper (and incorporate this fact into your design or messaging). Support solutions to specific social issues, donate a percentage of the sales to benefit a cause or non-profit organization, etc.

4. Marry print with online. While Millennials are receptive to direct mail, don’t forget they love technology. Connect the two whenever possible by coordinating email delivery with mail delivery timeframes, incorporating QR codes, personalized URLs, Augmented Reality and other interactive elements (and make sure wherever you are driving them online is optimized for mobile devices).

5. Use print enhancements. Millennials are tactile and visual learners. Use compelling imagery, quality paper, and enhancements such as scent, sound, or texture to make your direct mail piece stand out.

6. Have fun! Don’t take yourself so seriously. If branding permits, use humor in your messaging. After all, comedy is the genre Millennials watch most on television and online.

 If you haven’t yet considered direct mail in your marketing mix, particularly when targeting Millennials, now is the time to start. According to the DMA, while direct mail has a higher cost than some digital channels, it also has a higher response rate—up to 5.3% versus a high of 0.9% for digital. And, while email has the highest ROI (122%) because of its low cost, the ROI for direct mail (27%) is about the same as social media (28%).

In addition, print tactics can trigger other mobile-centric campaign elements like email and telemarketing while providing consistent tracking and a boost in the quality of your analytics. Bottom line: You’ll never know until you test it.

Debbie Dawson

Debbie Dawson

Senior Account Director at Eclipse Marketing Services
Debbie has over 20 years of award-winning consumer marketing experience. She loves the challenge of determining what motivates consumers and creating marketing campaigns that solve problems in creative ways. Follow Debbie on LinkedIn
Debbie Dawson

2 thoughts on “Millennials and Direct Mail: A Winning Combination for Marketers

  1. Fantastic website. Lots of helpful information here.
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