This past week, an article titled “Direct Mail Engages… Even with Millennials!” by Pat Nolan and Matt Swain from WhatTheyThink came across my desk. The piece summarizes some of the key findings of Keypoint Intelligence—InfoTrends’ recent research report, Annual State of Marketing Communications Survey.
In case the title of the article didn’t clue you in, it turns out that direct mail is still a top marketing contender, especially for millennial engagement. What’s surprising about this is that millennials, who have earned the moniker “digital natives” because they have spent a majority of their lives with smart phones, social media, and a constant connection to the world wide web, are continuing to show a preference for marketing that’s off-line.
Direct Mail Rates Strong on Frequency of Engagement
Direct mail is the second-most frequently engaged marketing channel by consumers, according to the WhatTheyThink’s article. Nearly 80% of respondents stated they engage with mail “often” or “sometimes.” The millennial survey respondents were actually the demographic mostly likely to engage often with a mailpiece. Early Adopters, or those who like to be the first to try out a new technology, also ranked high in mail engagement frequency with 35% compared to Late Adopters at 12%. The Early Adopters group is mostly composed of millennials, as they have grown up with the birth and evolution of cell phones, tablets, computers, etc., and are more willing to shell out money for the latest gadgets in order to stay connected with the outside world.
The frequency of millennial and Early Adopter engagement with mail indicates that those who use technology the most value communications that can give them a break from their LCD screens. For instance, the study found that 80% of millennials say they review at least half of the mail they get, while only 55% could say the same for their email messages.
This seems to be full proof that it’s the actual physical nature of mail that’s compelling millennial engagement with a marketing message—not that the marketing message is so compelling that it’s forcing millennials to interact with direct mail.
Duration of Millennial Engagement Shows the Value of Mail
The duration of consumer engagement, or how long someone interacts with the marketing message, is also longer for physical mail than it is for email. That includes millennials. To put numbers to it, millennials will spend minutes reviewing mail and less than a minute looking at a digital communication. As the article states, “the duration of engagement says a lot about the value and meaningfulness of a communication.”
Millennials’ Love of Mail is Nothing New
As interesting and counterintuitive as these findings are to many, they confirm what we’ve known for a while. Many researchers have found that millennials are attached to mail and value the contents of their physical mailbox. For even more proof, as well as tips to strengthen millennial engagement with your marketing message, download a copy of our Marketing to Millennials compilation today.
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