Is Mailing to Millennials a Waste of Money?

At least some of what you think about the Millennial generation is probably wrong. We’ve been led to believe these digital natives are so tuned into digital devices and social networking that traditional marketing and communication channels are worthless. Researchers found it’s not really true.

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Postal Service and the American Association of Political Consultants showed Millennials were more likely than other demographic groups to read political direct mail. 80% of surveyed Millennials said they viewed mailed political advertising as equal or preferable to online ads. 66% of Millennials said they researched candidates after receiving political mail. Most of them went directly to a candidate’s website. Reaching this important portion of the voting public through the mail is an effective strategy that could be easily overlooked due to erroneous notions about the target audience.

Political ads aren’t the only materials getting attention from people born between 1977 and 2000. Direct mail marketing studies have debunked the notion the Millennial generation ignores paper. Published reports say up to 90% of this group regards direct mail advertising as reliable. Half of them have made a purchase because of direct mail.

Many of the same characteristics making direct mail effective for any group apply to Millennials too. Compelling offers, attractive presentation, timely delivery, personalization, exclusivity, and relevance still matter. If Millennials make up a good part of the audience you are trying to reach though, remember this group responds differently to certain aspects of a campaign.

  • Use images, color, and graphs – The Millennials are a visual generation. Play into their preferences by communicating key points graphically if possible.
  • Promote your organization’s social consciousness – This generation is tuned into the environment and other social issues. They are attracted to companies genuinely demonstrating community welfare. Activism is regarded more favorably than simply donating money.
  • Integrate digital elements – They may like direct mail, but Millennials are a technically savvy bunch. The direct mail piece is probably just a starting point for them. The generation you are trying to reach will go online, probably via a mobile device, to learn more. You’ve got to have those landing pages, mobile optimized web sites, or apps ready to take your audience to the next step. Technologies like QR codes or PURLs are natural bridges between print and digital. More recent advancements like near field communications (NFC) or augmented reality (AR) may also apply.
  • Offer comparisons and reviews – Millennials can be cautious shoppers. If you are selling a product, providing feature comparisons and easy access to honest reviews will help turn browsers into buyers.

Neglecting to include physical mail in a strategy aimed at Millennials is probably a mistake. These consumers are as fatigued with spam and online digital clutter as everyone else. Designing well-planned multi-channel campaigns including print may be just what you need to get the attention of this desirable audience.

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