Millennial communications - a red letter day for direct mail
Despite the growing numbers of digital natives in the market and the increased uptake of digital communications across all generations, it is a misconception to believe that there is no role for traditional printed mail. Indeed, the latest data shows that direct mail not only has a place but that shifting behaviour across generations, particularly millennials, is making it an increasingly effective way to attract new customers and maintain the loyalty of existing ones.
A revaluation of print
While the ease, speed and convenience of digital communications have made them highly popular channels with both businesses and consumers, research indicates that millennials are becoming tired of the constant barrage of emails and messages that arrive daily in their inboxes. There is, of course, only so much time that people can devote to reading their messages and with so many to sift through, millennials are becoming increasingly choosy about which to read and which to ignore.
In the case of direct mail, the opposite applies. Today, people receive far fewer letters than they used to and its scarcity has given printed mail both novelty and value. What’s more, compared to an inbox, there’s more time to spend looking at individual letters. When it comes to millennials, research from USPS shows that they are more likely to engage with direct mail than other generations. While 40% of millennials read direct mail thoroughly, the figure is only 18% for non-millennials1. The amount of time they spend reading is also greater.
The conclusion that can be drawn from this is a simple one. The tangible letter still holds value for millennials and continues to play an important role in companies’ multichannel communications strategies.
The latest data also provides promising news for brands using traditional printed mail to attract new customers and sustain loyalty. According to JICMAIL’s most recent report2, 8.4% of all ad mail (including direct mail and door drops) and business mail drove traffic to advertiser websites in Q4 2020. At the same time, 5% prompted consumers to look up their account details. Encouragingly, both these measures grew by nearly 50% year-on-year.
Indeed, for those brands constrained by tighter budgets that need to maximise return on investment (ROI), the JICMAIL Q4 results are just as reassuring. These show that 7% of all ad mail and business mail prompted a purchase in Q4 2020, representing 19% growth year-on-year.
Underlying this growth is an upturn in the frequency with which people interact with mail: 4.88 times a month for business mail, 4.40 for direct mail and 3.06 for door drops. And while door drops are the least interacted with overall, they have seen the biggest growth, with engagement frequency increasing by 9%.
Direct mail is also being kept for longer: 8.1 days on average and 10 days for those containing appointments - a year-on-year growth of 4%. Door drops were held onto for 6.3 days, a 17% year-on-year rise driven by its use for sending vouchers and coupons, and for informing residents about services in their local areas.
With regards to ROI, the figures show that the improving rates of interaction were surpassed in Q4 by the growth in commercial impact, highlighting the increasing efficiency and effectiveness of direct mail.
Overall, the current data indicates that direct mail offers creative opportunities for brands to engage with millennials and it is playing an increasingly important role in multichannel communication strategies. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable partner like Paragon Customer Communications can help put those effective strategies into operation.