If you think a Millennial is someone glued to their phone, happy to ignore their mailbox, and only reachable through social media, email, and other digital marketing channels, you’d be completely wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. We all know Millennials have a love affair with their phones and devices, but they also have a love affair with their mailboxes. That’s right, Millennials are actually excited, attentive, and responsive when it comes to mail, making mail marketing one of the most effective ways to reach Millennials in 2019.
Millennials Moving Away from the Stereotype
Growing up alongside digital technology means that Millennials find their computers and devices to be easy to use. They are often so attached to them that the smartphone might as well be considered an external organ. Products of the information age, Millennials feel at home with their digital technologies and social media channels. They’re native speakers of digital languages, and naturally adept at utilizing digital technologies for both work and fun. So surely, with all of that in mind, Millennials must be a generation uninterested in physical mail, right? Actually, according to recent research, such conclusions are entirely wrong.
According to a report by The USPS Office of Inspector General, Millennials are more likely to take the time to read their mail, and even show it to others. In fact, they are 71% more likely to scan through their mail instead of just tossing it, compared to 66% of non-Millennials. That’s right, Millennials are actually more likely to take the time to look at their mail. According to the same study, they’re also less likely to discard their mail without reading through it first, compared to other generations. And almost a quarter of them also take the time to show others their mail, compared to 19% in other generations. In fact, mail marketing beats out digital marketing for Millennials. A United States Postal Service report shows that 64% would rather scan for useful info in the mail than email, and a full 84% of Millennials take the time to look through their mail.
The U.S. Postal Service partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business on a study to gauge responses to physical and digital advertising, and they found that participants spend more time with physical advertisements, engaging with them for a longer amount of time and more carefully. Physical advertisements also had a positive neurological effect on participants. Physical advertisements triggered activity in a part of the brain that corresponds with value and desirability, and they had a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remember them more clearly and for longer.
Canada Post found the same results in a neuromarketing research project. They measured the response to two campaigns that used the same creative and messaging for both physical and digital media and found that the direct mail campaigns required 21% less cognitive effort to process, and yet participants’ recall was 70% higher if they were exposed to direct mail rather than a digital ad. Furthermore, participants showed measured activation in parts of the brain that correspond to motivation. In other words, participants found physical mail to be easier to consume and recall and were more motivated to action after reading physical mail marketing than digital. According to the previously mentioned USPS study, Nearly half of Millennials ignore digital ads, but only 15% say they ignore direct mail.
Why is this? Millennials are surrounded by digital tools, technologies, and digital advertisements. Whether they’re fatigued by the constant intake of digital information, or whether it all simply blurs together, traditional mail marketing offers not only a break from the norm but a physical tactile experience. It’s an experience that their brains respond to in different ways altogether than the constant barrage of digital information. So, although it’s true that Millennials are glued to their devices and hungry for digital content, this actually makes them better candidates for mail marketing compared to other generations.
Furthermore, Millennials also trust mail more than they trust digital marketing. It’s no surprise, Millennials know about online scams, phishing attempts, and dubious marketing claims, and viruses. Physical mail doesn’t present the same worries for Millennials. 88% of millennials see print on paper as more official than digital marketing. Millennials are also great at cutting out the noise. From banner ads to pop-ups, to endless emails, Millennials are capable of tuning out digital advertising better than other demographics. Whereas digital marketing is everywhere for Millennials who spend so much of their time online, print advertising arrives in lower volumes, and less frequently, and recipients can choose when they want to check their mail. So not only are Millennials more trusting of print advertising, but they find mail to be comparatively less pervasive, which offers further clues as to why mail marketing is such a powerful tool for reaching and engaging with Millennials.
Making Use of the Data
Now that the reports are in and the studies conducted, we have plenty of data that shows that Millennials are actually more likely to read through, pay attention to, engage with, and be motivated by physical mail than other generations. So what exactly can we do with this data?
The obvious answer is to invest in direct mail marketing. The good news is that this data shows that companies and marketing campaigns looking to engage with Millennials have a very clear path for success. The bad news is that a lot of people are getting it wrong. For Millennials, traditional marketing and digital marketing are the same thing. Digital marketing is, by far, most of what they’re exposed to, and unfortunately for digital marketers, it’s what they’re best at tuning out. However, this means that companies and marketers who take advantage of direct mail marketing have a real leg up on the competition. Direct mail offers marketers the chance to step outside of the blur of digital advertisement and increase their ROI with physical marketing campaigns. Furthermore, we can take what we know about how and why Millennials respond to physical mail, and we can make even greater strides to cut through the competition and make use of all of the positives of the digital world and new technologies, along with all of the positives of mail.
The data available to advertisers is at an all-time high. The digital footprint of individuals and the overall trends of demographics represent powerful information for guiding your next marketing push. Taking advantage of digital tools combined with the advantages of direct mail is a great way to stand out and beat out the competition.
Mail marketing is even a great tool to drive people to digital services. Just because your services are mostly online, it doesn’t mean that your marketing has to be. The numbers are in, and people just aren’t listening to email blasts like they used to. People are tuning out banner ads and blocking pop-ups. But even if you’re marketing an online service, you can still do so through mail marketing. Whether you have an online store, digital-based service, or simply prefer to direct people to your website, direct mail is still the way to do it. So, whether your marketing is meant to direct potential customers to a physical location or service, or a website and/or digital service, direct mail is the way to go.
Let’s consider another scenario. Person A is trying to sell discounted furniture through his online store. He figures since it’s an online service, the best way to market it would be online. Person B also has an online store selling similar furniture at similar prices. Person A and Person B have always been competitive, so Person B decides to give direct mail a try. Now, you’re a Millennial, and you’ve just received advertisements for Person A’s store and Person B’s store. Person A’s arrived in your email. If it didn’t get picked up by your spam folder, it will sit there among countless other emails and notifications. On the other hand, Person B’s advertisement arrived in your mailbox among just 5 other pieces of mail. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to read the advertisement from Person B, and you’re more likely to delete the advertisement from Person A without reading it. You’re also more likely to trust the advertisement from Person B since it is a physical advertisement, and you’re more likely to be motivated by it. So let’s say you are in the market for some new furniture. Which advertisement is more likely to get you clicking on to one of the websites?
Person B is likely to win out over Person A. It is true that direct mail has a higher cost than some digital channels, but it also has a higher response rate — 5.3% versus a high of 0.9% for digital. So, if you’re looking to increase your ROI, and reach not just more customers in general, but more Millennials too, direct mail is the way to do it.
Millennials Love Their Mail
In summary, Millennials love their mail. They respond to it better both neurologically, and in terms of actual response rate. Direct mail can help your message rise above the digital noise, especially with Millennials. While it’s true they love their devices, the idea that they aren’t interested in physical mediums is completely false. With Millennials being more likely to see, read, engage with, and respond to mail than digital advertising, even compared to other generations, there hasn’t been a better time to take advantage of direct mail.
Give United Mail a call today at 866 542-2107 to talk about the most effective way to reach the Millennial demographic. We’re here to help and look forward to hearing from you. Request a call today.
By Kenton Jetton