While not labeled as the “Greatest Generation,” Millennials are certainly a demographic group that is top of mind for any astute direct marketer. But what do we know about this demographic, and how do they relate to the mailing industry?
The first step to understanding the importance of Millennials when it comes to direct mail is to understand who they are. Millennials range in age from 21 to 38, and comprise a fourth of the US population. A key factor in the growing success of direct mail for this demographic is largely due to a phenomenon called digital fatigue; Millennials are so weary of the daily digital deluge that they are beginning to move away from actively monitoring their digital devices. Because they are bombarded with emails every day, many Millennials have implemented email filtering rules to avoid overflowing inboxes and have become accustomed to simply ignoring most of the digital marketing completely. In fact, 50% of Millennials ignore digital ads, while only 15% ignore direct mail pieces. They may have thousands of unread email messages they will never look at, but they touch every piece of direct mail sent to them.
Millennials Have Money and Spend It
Making up half of the US workforce, Millennials are experiencing rapid career growth and account for $1.3 trillion in annual purchasing power – which is why it is so essential to understand how to effectively market to them. Millennials not only have money, but they spend it, too. In general, they tend to spend more on comforts and conveniences as compared to prior generations. They also value experiences and events and tend to be frequent travelers. When it comes to shopping, the USPS Office of Inspector General reports that Millennials are responsive to Marketing Mail, with 62% of Millennials saying they had visited a store in the past month based on information received in the mail.
Additionally, according to the Pew Research Center in 2016, 82% of US births were from millennial women. These women may have received plenty of gifts for the baby, but as their children grow, they will need to be shopping for toddlers whose clothing and shoe sizes change rapidly. Direct marketers should be aware of this opportunity for impactful marketing.
Millennials and the Mail
Millennials are individuals with clear postal passion. According to a 2016 study by Quad/Graphics Inc., 90% of Millennials see direct mail messaging as reliable, and 57% have made purchases based on direct mail. Millennials also spend more time with their mail than older generations, and the USPS reports that they are more likely to open, read, and keep most of the mail types they receive when compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers. For example, Millennials spend on average 4.4 minutes sorting their mail and 7.2 minutes opening and reading, whereas Baby Boomers average 2.9 and 6.5 minutes respectively. Additionally, Millennials have a fondness for coupons, and they are more likely to read through coupon booklets than older generations, with 77% reading through them more than half of the time they receive them.
Millennials on the Move
Millennials are a key factor in the continued success of direct marketing mail, which is why it is more paramount than ever to understand how to market to them. However, Millennials move differently than previous generations. They seldom file a Change of Address (COA) with the USPS, making standard compliance efforts such as NCOALink less reliable. Investing in address quality services that take you beyond standard compliance are worth the effort to get the correct address.
Personalized Marketing Is Key
Though it is clear that Millennials will respond to traditional marketing methods, it can’t be the same as it’s always been. While Millennials are more likely to shop at stores from companies that advertise to them through the mail, they crave authenticity and transparency from businesses they frequent. Marketing to Millennials requires more personalized data, targeted messaging, and strategically timed multichannel messaging. Thankfully, today’s market provides many solutions and on-demand access to critical services to assist marketers as they continue to focus on this important demographic.
Chris Lien is the president of BCC Software and has been active in the mailing industry for over 25 years. During that time, he authored several software solutions utilizing Mail.dat for electronic auditing, distribution and logistics planning, palletization, and electronic postage payment. He has been heavily involved in industry associations such as the Association for Postal Commerce, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Idealliance, and has previously served as industry Chair of the Postmaster General’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC).