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Millennials Mind Their Mail

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Years ago, we did a 3-dimensional package for a technology company. Our audience was web-based software developers. These geeks (and we say that with affection) lived and breathed, ate, drank and slept online. The client, logically enough, assumed that any responses to our campaign would come in via an electronic channel. He didn't want to spend the money on a mail-back option (a BRC, or in this case, a form that folded into its own BRE).

As direct marketers, we felt strongly that incorporating multiple response options — including a traditional postal one — was the right way to go. We all agreed to a test.

Here's where it got interesting. Not only did a significant percentage of the responses come in via the BRE, but all other response options (phone, email, and microsite) saw a lift when there was a mail option.

We're always reminded of this test and its counterintuitive results when clients or colleagues assume that millennials, a generation raised online, aren't interested in mail.

The USPS's Mail Moments study confirms our opinion that mail matters to this audience. What's really interesting is that in many ways it matters slightly more to the digital generation than to older people.

Here are some interesting facts and attitudes revealed by the study:

When asked if they like to discover what the mail brings every day and consider time spent looking at and/or reading mail as time well-spent ...
50% of millennials agree, while only
44% of non-millennials agree.

On the flipside, when asked if they do not give mail much attention ...
5% of non-millennials agree, while only
2% of millennials agree.

Millennials score higher in several other behavioral ways as well.

84% of millennials typically pick up their mail themselves, while only
81% of non-millennials do.

89% of millennials pick up their mail at the first opportunity, while only
84% of non-millennials do.

82% of millennials sort their own mail and determine which ads, flyers and coupons to keep, while only
76% of non-millennials do.

What's more, millennials spend more time sorting their mail than their older counterparts do.
9.2 minutes, as opposed to
7.5 for gen xers and 8.6 for baby boomers.

Of course, we recognize that these numbers aren't drastically different. But, they certainly disprove the assumption that millennials don't want mail.

And the really exciting opportunity for marketers here is that millennials, who are obviously at least as engaged with mail as other demographics, receive less mail.

Maybe that's what makes the mail so enticing for them.

And,certainly it means that your direct mail campaign will have a better chance to stand out.

So, if you're targeting millennials and trying to decide whether to use digital or postal messages, don't think either/or anymore.

Think and.

Mailbox Monday
Engagement: Why Mail Still Matters

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