This article originally appeared in the September/October issue of Mailing Systems Technology.
Professionals often sneer at the word “millennial.” However, the reality is that this generation is powerful when it comes to business — millennials will make up the majority of the workforce and consumer groups by the year 2020.
Millennials range from ages 20-36, which means they are buying houses and renting apartments, purchasing cars, getting married, growing families, and taking vacations. In the workforce, they are working professionals, many in managerial positions and in charge of budgets.
The largest living generation, millennials were born and raised in the digital age. However, this does not mean they are “digital addicts.” Technology is often second nature to them, but they also respond to traditional marketing methods.
So, What Does This Mean for Direct Mail?
Direct mail has continued to solidify its place in the marketing landscape, with response rates of five percent, compared to less than one percent for digital marketing tactics, such as email, social media, and online ads.
Millennials are experiencing digital fatigue — they are so used to always being digitally connected that they are beginning to grow tired and move away from this when possible. They are bombarded with emails every day, and they have become accustomed to ignoring them completely or quickly scanning to choose ones that matter to them.
Because of this, millennials will respond to traditional marketing methods, but it can’t be the same as it’s always been. They crave authenticity and transparency from businesses they frequent. Millennials value individuality, meaning personalized marketing messages resonate with them.
According to the USPS, 90% of millennials think that direct mail marketing messages are reliable, and 92% are influenced by direct mail to make purchase decisions. Taking this into consideration, it’s essential for our industry to educate millennials on the importance and influence of direct mail as part of a larger and effective marketing campaign.
How to Leverage This Data
Although millennials are experiencing digital fatigue, they still spend a lot of time online every day. Meaning that while they value print, they look for a digital component, so it’s important to direct consumers from your mail piece to a landing page or social media page.
Compared to older generations, millennials are more open to giving out personal information if they are getting something in return. So, offer them something. This can be a percentage off an order, a free consultation, free samples, or access to a website.
How to Get Your Business Ready for the Changes Ahead
Bring this information into your company to ensure success as the professional landscape changes. It’s important to take both an internal and external focus on this.
Internally, you need to have subject matter experts within your organization. They need to understand industry changes and challenges, as well as how to execute what the organization is selling and understand any and all technology that is currently being used and what is on the horizon.
Externally, your team needs to focus on educating your salesforce on how to sell to millennials. Frame the company’s offerings as an integral part of a multi-touch campaign. Millennials understand marketing trends and the newest tactics, but do they truly know the value of direct mail? Do they know how powerful it is as the foundation of effective marketing campaigns?
The industry landscape may be changing, but direct mail remains as influential as ever, if not even more so. It’s important to prepare your business to remain successful and be ready to welcome a new generation of leaders.
Chris Lien is President, BCC Software. He is a frequent speaker at industry shows like National Postal Forum and a recurring writer for industry publications.