Does Direct Mail Really Work for Millennials?

By September 21, 2018 July 29th, 2019 Marketing

Millennials are the wave of the future. In fact, according to Buxton Customer Analytics, by 2020 millennials (ages 20-36) are projected to have a spending power of 1.4 trillion dollars–more than any other generation before them. This statistic makes it imperative for PR pros to deduce if some of the older, tried-and-true strategies appeal to the millennial generation. For instance, does direct mail work, or has digital marketing rendered it obsolete?

As social media and search advertising have become integrated into our everyday lives, many believe that direct mail is an outdated way to reach consumers as smartphones allow millennials to access information, products and services instantly. However, according to multiple reports conducted in the past year, this is not the case. We’ve outlined below why direct mail is so appealing to this generation and how to use the data below to create your next successful direct mail campaign:
Out with the new, in with the…old? 

In an article on its website, MarketingProfs shared an infographic by US Presort that debunks direct mail myths, one of them being that millennials don’t even look through their mail. In reality, 84% of millennials look through their mail on a regular basis and are also more likely to share what they see with their peers. In contrast, out of the 35% of millennials in the workforce (the largest generation in the U.S. workforce and America’s largest generation overall), 50% of them ignore digital ads. This seems like a paradox: if they have a reputation of being glued to their phones, why are they ignoring online ads?

“Ninety percent of millennials think direct mail advertising is reliable.”

The answer is simple: it boils down to over-saturation of online advertising via social media. For example, let’s say you’re getting married and you’re looking at venues for your wedding a year out. A couple of hours later you’re scrolling through Facebook see an ad for a wedding gift registry. You might find this annoying, distracting, or perhaps even an invasion of privacy. This happens to us so often that we even mute video ads–81% of us in fact.

The sheer amount and frequency of these campaigns on social media newsfeeds are causing them to lose their credibility over time. Email’s also becoming less effective. Sixty-four percent of millennials would instead search for useful information in the mail than email.

So, why is direct mail so successful? The answer is simple: it’s seen as far more trustworthy. Ninety percent of millennials think direct mail advertising is reliable. There are also differences in neurological responses to direct mail versus online ads. When USPS partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University to gauge reactions to physical and digital ads they found the following:

  • Participants processed digital content more quickly, but they spent more time with physical ads.
  • Physical ads triggered activity in a part of the brain that corresponds with value and desirability.
  • Participants had a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remembered them better.
How to combat this phenomenon

After hearing all of these stats, we don’t blame you if you want to throw in the towel with online advertising. But don’t worry, theres a way to salvage this seemingly unconquerable situation. Integrating both print and digital marketing into is critical to your modern PR campaigns. Social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are great for generating web traffic, brand awareness and ultimately business. At the same time, using direct mail every so often with links to learn more about your company is a great way to reach millennials in this day and age of oversaturation of online advertising.

How to use this to your advantage

By using impactful multichannel strategies backed by analytics, companies can discern which method works for their target audiences. With millennials becoming one of the largest consumer markets and them being the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, knowing what they want and how they want it can’t be overlooked. Targeting millennials is vital for PR to move forward. A healthy balance of social media and direct mail marketing may very well be the heart of increasing ROI and reaching this new era of consumers.

Until next time!
Critical Mention
Jolie Shapiro Picture
Jolie Shapiro

Passionate about all things communications, Jolie found her dream job as a copywriter with Critical Mention, where she’s continuing her passion for writing and editing. With a background working for high-profile clients in the financial, hospitality and technology industries, she’s excited to bring her experience to Critical Mention. When she’s not writing you can find her at music festivals, hiking or snowboarding.

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