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Why the Digital Generation Loves Mail

You’d think that the first digital generation, Millennials, would stick their noses up at direct mail in favor of electronic alternatives, but the opposite is true. Millennials love mail! Studies show that Millennials are more engaged with direct mail than other generations. According to “USPS Mail Moments,” for example, 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 a greater preference for direct mail over email in some key areas. For example, 64% would rather look for “useful information” in the physical mail than email, and while the average person spends 8.4 minutes sorting their mail, Millennials spend 9.2 minutes doing so. 

Why do digital natives love engaging with direct mail? 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. 

If you are marketing to this audience, try connecting the physical world to the social media world to create relevance. For example, members of this generation are massive consumers of social media like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, so consider designing to your direct mail be “Instagram-like” or “Snapchat-like.” Try incorporating print-to-mobile and print-to-video tools like QR Codes and augmented reality. Turn direct mail into an experience.

Even when direct mail graphics are static, use those graphics creatively. For example, one direct mail piece uses an image of a surfer riding a wave several stories high. 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 focusing on interest rates and mortgage terms, it used images to show what it feels like to be crushed under debt. 

When targeting Millennials, incorporate direct mail. But understand how this audience thinks, then design campaigns intended for this audience in a way that they are most likely to connect with. 

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