Millennials and the mailbox

Rows of Mailboxes

Too old-school and too expensive. Two very common accusations levelled at direct mail in the age of the millennial takeover. With print as an industry on the decline, newspaper and magazine circulations getting smaller and the cost-effectiveness of email well-proven, the environment direct mail finds itself in doesn’t provide much encouragement. However, the relationship potential between millennials and direct mail offers us a fresh perspective on the most traditional of direct marketing channels – and its place in a brave, new world.

They don’t get any

It’s rare that millennials will receive physical mail at all in 2015. Bank account statements – online. Student loan – online. Kiwisaver – online. Personal comms – online, online, online. They are signed up to 1001 different brands via email that will stuff their inbox to the brim each day with offers, news, preferences and everything in between. There is no pleasure any more in receiving an “electronic mail”. Yet physical mail, an envelope or DM piece addressed to you, has still maintained its aura – something you can touch, feel, consider. For millennials, this is less and less likely to be bills and the other dull necessities of life.

It’s official

The fact that millennials receive very little physical mail sets an expectation about what they do receive – it must be worth communicating, therefore their interest is perked. Direct mail is the only channel where an unsolicited message isn’t considered annoying or inappropriate. Unsolicited email is spam, unsolicited online ads get blocked, but personalised direct mail still asks the question “this message must be worth something, and it’s addressed to me!” If millennials’ expectation is met by strategically sound direct mail executed well, cut-through is in the offing.

Integration – the key to everything

We mustn’t forget who we are dealing with here. Millennials are the original digital natives, and direct mail cannot sit apart from every other channel millennials engage with. Direct mail is the foot in the door, converting these leads into purchases and sign ups requires an integrated approach. Send a text to this number, enter this unique code on a landing page, use this promo code on our website – linking people from the direct mail piece to digital channels is paramount. Physical coupons and the like still have their place, but creating a CTA that people can follow through immediately in the comfort of their own homes will help you reap the millennial benefits.

Much of the scramble to understand millennials as they take over the workforce is focused on the cutting edge of digital, understandably so. Direct mail should not become an afterthought though, thrown on the “traditional marketing” scrapheap. Rather, direct mail needs to be held up as one of many effective channels that need to work in tandem with each other. Gone are the days of the mass mail-out – strategic thinking, engaging offers and quality creative execution will keep your millennial’s eye on their mailbox.

Author: Will Riley, Account Executive

With thanks to soulpopcorn.com for the image