Getting Millennials to Respond to Direct Mail

Whether you’re after brand awareness, increased audience engagement, sales or donation conversions, every campaign—no matter the channel – must have a primary goal. Our last few blogs have looked at how direct mail works with millennials. Research has shown that when compared with digital advertising, direct mail works more strongly to persuade millennials, and it is visually processed for a better and stronger cognitive impression, as well.

And while all of those are great findings for a long-proven channel, this time we’re looking at how we can turn that persuasion and better cognitive processing of direct mail into triggering the conversion response that’s the ultimate goal: a sale or donation with profitable ROI (because who isn’t down for that?)

A key research point in this Canada Post study, downloadable here, reveals that direct mail is in fact more likely to drive behaviour than digital media. In testing direct mail versus digital ads, the study found that direct mail achieved a motivation-to-cognitive load ratio of 1.31, whereas digital media achieved a motivation-to-cognitive load ratio of just 0.87.

In plain English, the ‘motivation-to-cognitive-load ratio’ is a measurement used that indicates whether a stimulus is likely to trigger a desired action from a consumer.  A score of 1.0 or higher is a key threshold and here, we see direct mail surpassed that baseline by more than 30%!

Direct Marketing Magazine categorizes millennials as “Engaged and Deal-Seeking” shoppers. As mentioned in an earlier blog, their article “Millennial myth busting” analyzes how millennials are shopping and what drives them to buy. Their study showed that 80 per cent of millennials select which stores to shop at based on deals, and 46 per cent are engaged shoppers (higher than any other age segment in Canada!)

Check this out:

“While eight in 10 millennials use a combination of print and digital media before hitting stores, only 10 per cent are exclusively using digital flyers or coupons – suggesting that despite their plugged-in lifestyle, millennials actually prefer printed flyers, versus only 25 per cent who prefer to view flyers in an app.”

 Can we shout it from the rooftops with some surprise? MILLENNIALS PREFER PRINTED FLYERS.  But more than just prefer, the study shows that millennials actually enjoy taking the piece of paper you send them into bricks and mortar stores, driving their shopping behaviour. The same is true for online conversions; millennials can use direct mail pieces for discount codes online or to find your donation form (never forget to include your URL on DM, if you’re not omnichannel, you’re not marketing properly!).

So now what?

We’ve established direct mail (data-based, relevant, well-crafted!) will work for your millennial target, but how can you do it effectively and maximize ROI? Well for starters, you can contact us here. Cutting through the noise is what we can help you do, but we come at it from all angles.

This article from puts it well: though direct mail remains vital to the customer communications matrix, it must still be timely and relevant to get attention. Direct mail should not be a solo campaign, it should help facilitate a fluid cross-channel conversation with millennials.

While direct mail isn’t right for every integrated marketing campaign, and it ordinarily won’t succeed in isolation (except sometimes), it can be an effective way to cut through the noise, attract attention and activate a response, even in our ‘internet of everything’ digital age.

Stick around for our next blog in the coming weeks, when we break down who exactly these millennials are into sub-segments, with a few tips and tricks for how to make your integrated campaigns even more desirable to them.