What Junk Folder? Why Marketers Should Direct Mail Millennials
By Jody Spusta
Millennials are on track to become the largest living generation in the US, with the annual buying power of $200 billion dollars1. It is no wonder they are a top focus of marketers across any industry. While most might characterize millennials as fast-paced and tech-savvy, their advertising preferences are more traditional than expected. Millennials are more inclined to engage with Marketing materials that are delivered to their mailbox, not their inbox.
Mailboxes used to be crowded with paper advertisements, bills and food menus. Today, that balance has shifted. Millennials now receive thousands of Marketing emails that are often automatically categorized into their promotion or junk folders, which typically goes unchecked. Some don’t even know those separate folders exist. Direct mail, such as postcards, flyers and other paper copy is more likely to stand out and leave a lasting impression on millennials, who have been bombarded with mass amounts of digital advertisements since childhood.
The US Postal Service found that millennials enjoy receiving mail more than non-millennials, yet are receiving the least amount of mail2. Over 85% of millennials pick up the mail at the first opportunity and spend over 9 minutes on average engaging with their physical mail. It’s time marketers re-evaluate digital-only campaigns, because not mailing to millennials is a missed opportunity.
Here are three reasons why direct mail works:
1. Mailboxes Are Empty
Millennials rarely receive direct mail. The majority (90%) find direct mail reliable and 87% like receiving it, according to DM News. Letters and postcards are more tangible and allow millennials a welcomed break from their screens. Physical mail presents an opportunity for organizations to connect with this group in a different way and break through the noise of digital ads. And, 88% of millennials view print mail as more official than digital content.
Direct mail ensures millennials absorb the message being delivered, without the risk of being filtered into a spam folder. It’s easier to glance at a postcard and think about what is being offered, than sort through an email folder containing hundreds of advertisements, all with similar subject lines.
2. Mail is Personal
Personalization is a big factor when trying to connect with this younger generation. It is often referred to as the “me generation” – and getting mail just for “me” goes a long way. With direct mail, each piece is personalized for that specific individual with first name and custom content based on their age, gender, offer, target action, etc. At Welltok (formerly Tea Leaves Health), we personalize direct mail at no additional cost to clients because we’ve seen firsthand how it significantly improves the outcome.
Direct mail allows for materials to reflect millennial characteristics and interests. One of our clients is currently running a “Turning 30” campaign geared toward both males and females, using gender versioning for image and copy. It is an acquisition strategy for Primary Care, with messaging centered around the age of 30 being the new healthy. It includes copy that reminds recipients to think about their long-term overall health and keep up with physical and well-women exams, cholesterol screenings and other important check-ups. The campaign is multi-channel with a direct mail, followed-up by an email. Early results show high engagement and that focusing on 30 as an upcoming milestone was highly personal and relevant to this audience.
3. Mail Delivers Results
Millennials associate direct mail with value and desirability and tend to remember physical promotions better. It’s proven that direct mail is easier to process, easier to remember and motivates people more than digital messages2. Direct mail is more likely to encourage specific behavior, so organizations can achieve an even higher ROI when conducting these types of campaigns3. It’s true that mailing costs more money than a digital campaign, but with a 13:1 ROI on average, organizations often find that it is worth the extra bucks. We have even seen as high as a 766:1 ROI on very targeted campaigns for patient services.
While it may feel like the pendulum keeps swinging between traditional and digital channels, the reality is they all have a place in a marketer’s toolkit. A millennial-focused marketing campaign with a smart mix of print and digital is more effective than single sourcing one channel or another. This younger generation is hungry for meaningful and authentic interactions, don’t limit how you deliver on it.
If you're ready to boost ROI through targeted campaigns, schedule time with our experts to discuss how it's possible.
Original article appeared in MarTechSeries - October 10, 2019
1Pew Research Center: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/01/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/
2 US Postal Service: https://postcom.memberclicks.net/assets/2016/2016%20mail%20moments%20report%20may%20160504%201400.pdf
3Canada Post: https://www.canadapost.ca/assets/pdf/blogs/CPC_Neuroscience_EN_150717.pdf