Thinking Outside the Inbox

Sara Almeida

When you hear the term, “Millennial,” what do you think of?  Some people describe them as lazy and entitled. Others say they have no work ethic. Some say that they work harder than any other “group” because they can never seem to unplug; whether it be from Facebook, Snapchat, IG or their email. You know what they say about opinions, right? Well, the millennials are Direct Marketing’s new BFF! There are 76 million millennials in the US today! That’s a lot of people. They have an average of 250 Facebook friends, while Generation-X has an average of 200. They are an ethnically diverse generation that have grown up being told, “Follow your dreams.” They are optimistic that the best in the world is yet to come. They receive the most marketing attention because of the online and socially networked world that they live in. But, just because they are always “plugged in,” doesn’t mean that electronic advertising and communication are the only ways to reach them.

Believe it or not, millennials like mail and they like it a lot!  According to a study done by Info Trends, 38% of millennials prefer direct mail compared to 26% that prefer email. In 2016, the USPS found that 40% of millennials read direct mail pieces thoroughly compared to 18% of non-millennials. This is HUGE for direct marketers. Why does direct mail work for millennials? There are tons of opinions on that as well. The most obvious one is that direct mail is different. It’s different from what millennials view each day. Millennials are inundated with pop-ups, banner ads and other fleeting online advertising. A printed piece provides a tangible, leisurely form of advertisement which leaves a positive impression. In fact, 25% of millennials find reading mail a leisurely activity.

Marketers going after this large percentage of the population need to find a way to satisfy the online hunger and offline relaxation that millennials crave. So how do we give the millennials what they want as marketers? How do we find the right balance between a constant online presence and a need for relaxation? Creating an interaction between their busy online lives and the mailbox is key.  Technology is our friend here. Scannable coupons and QR codes are one way to tie together the digital and print world for our millennials friends. A strong CCM platform is integral in effectively marketing to millennials.  Combining the online and offline efforts remains the most effective approach for capturing customers. Make sure your marketing teams are not only talking, but are actually working together.  It is time to spend some time thinking outside the inbox and focus some efforts on what’s in the mailbox.