Conventional wisdom would dictate that Millennials, the digital generation, would favor electronic mail over direct mail. But studies consistently show that Millennials are actually more engaged with direct mail than other generations. In fact, according to “USPS Mail Moments” (USPS 2016), Millennials are more likely than non-Millennials to do the following:
- Scan their mail (71% vs. 66%)
- Organize and sort their mail (45% vs. 40%)
- Read their mail (36% vs. 35%)
- Show their mail to others (24% vs. 19%)
Millennials also show greater preference for direct mail over email in some key areas. For example, 64% of Millennials would rather look for “useful information” in physical mail than email, and while the average person spends 8.4 minutes sorting their mail, Millennials spend 9.2 minutes doing so.
Why is direct mail so effective for these digital natives? In part, it’s because they are inundated with digital media. Physical mail stands out in Millennials’ otherwise electronic worlds. This generation is also geared toward visual content, and direct mail caters to the physical senses. Millennials are massive consumers of social media, such as Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, so when mailing to this audience, tap into the visual senses the way social media does. Incorporate print-to-mobile tools like QR Codes and augmented reality. Use print-to-mobile video. Turn direct mail into an experience.
Direct mail graphics can be static, as well, but use those graphics creatively. For example, one webinar showed a direct mail piece using an image of a surfer riding a several story wave. At first glance, you might think this was for surf products or Caribbean cruises. In fact, it was for mortgage refinancing. The text read, “Ever feel like your home mortgage is like 60 tons of water ready to crush you and your family? We can help!” Instead of talking about interest rates and mortgage terms, it communicated the message visually, by showing what it feels like to be crushed under debt.
So when targeting to Millennials, don’t overlook the value of direct mail. But understand how Millennials think, how they communicate, and how to use graphics creatively to get your message across in the most powerful and effective way.