Marketing to Millennials: Does Direct Mail Work in This Market?


You’ve heard it said: Millennials (those born between 1977 and 2000) have no interest in paper. They like things digital, tech heavy, and fast. But with a 2014 report indicating that over 90% of young shoppers refer to direct mail to help in shopping decisions, clearly all is not lost. It’s just different.

Snag the ‘Share’

Millennials make up the majority of social media users, sharing snippets of lifestyle that win approval and ‘likes’ from friends and peers. Word of mouth marketing is strong, and direct mail marketers can cash in on the social trend by offering built-in bragging rights.

Give millennials something to shout about and you’ll score a double whammy: Their personal interest and added exposure when they post in their social accounts. What might constitute something to shout about? How about:

  • Money off coupons
  • Two for one deals
  • Loyalty programs with a real value
  • Event personalization

It doesn’t have to be complex. For instance, tie your offering to a social or current event and include a hashtag if you want to encourage Twitter sharing.

Combine Your Media

Dubbed the first truly digital generation, to millennials technology isn’t new, it’s normal. Direct mail campaigns do better with this generation when a seamless integration between on- and offline happens.

This type of integration is one of the areas in which direct mail can really score since combining print with web offers hits the millennial sweet spot. This generation has ‘showrooming’ down to a fine art, browsing items in stores but actually buying online.

Offer a link to your website, or even better a personalized landing page where millennials can instantly order or find more information, and you can significantly improve the response rate. In fact, one survey revealed that 89% said having access to real-time product information influenced their buying decisions.

Ways to integrate digital with print include QR Codes or scannable coupons recipients can save to their smartphones. Near Field Communication (NFC) offers a multitude of ways in which direct mail can integrate print with digital:

  • Open a webpage
  • Launch an app
  • Show a location or address
  • Go to social media pages
  • Send text messages

Get to the Point

Attention spans aren’t just getting shorter amongst millennials, it’s happening across the board. When we want information, we want it now, in short bursts we can digest rapidly, plain language we can understand without needing a dictionary, and a clear message about what to do next. We’re bombarded with information, and the business that makes it easiest for us to get what we want gets the sale.

So, think short and to the point. Put the main message up front, in the headline, rather than buried deep down in a long letter, and make your CTA really stand out. That doesn’t mean you can oversimplify or ‘dumb down’ your message. Millennials are smart with a highly developed radar for anything patronizing.

Include Plenty of Offers

You don’t have to be the cheapest, but you do need to offer value. It doesn’t even have to be a monetary value since many will purchase to support a good cause.

Millennials value being made to feel they’re special customers, and will reward merchants who treat them so. Direct mail that offers unique rewards and an integrated experienced will still succeed in today’s market.

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