Is direct mail dead? Nearly everyone on the planet is reachable electronically these days, right? So why would you keep forking over cash for the printing and postage of actual printed advertising? The big players all do it. Grocery ads, back-to-school big-box ads, home improvement store ads all arrive in our mailboxes every week. They must work, or those prominent retailers would not continue to invest marketing dollars in them. Okay, you say, but if you’re talking about millennials and direct mail, surely it’s passé.
Except it’s not. The United States Postal Service has brought together a ton of research to show why. Granted, they have a vested interest in keeping the physical mail stream flowing, but the sources they cite are well respected.
“The Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business found that our brains process digitally delivered information faster than physical versions, and therefore people spend more time with mail pieces.”
The data on millennials and direct mail
Here are some numbers for you to chew on from the USPS white paper:
- 84 percent of millennials look through their mail
- 77 percent of millennials pay attention to direct mail advertising
- 87 percent like to receive direct mail
- 57 percent have made purchases based on direct mail advertising they’ve received
Millennials disregard digital
Half of millennials now ignore digital display ads. They’re old hat.
Only 15% ignore direct mail. Think about it: In this era of instant communication and constant connection, physical mail once a day is a novelty and more of a sensory experience – you touch it, unfold it, hear it crinkle – than what our screens offer up.
Direct mail’s brain effect
The USPS white paper also cites brain science that supports the wisdom of reaching people with physical advertising. In partnership with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, the Post Office found that our brains process digitally delivered information faster than physical versions, and therefore people spend more time with mail pieces.
Physical ads also do a better job of triggering brain activity related to finding something desirable. Our response tends to be more emotional and we tend to remember longer what we’ve seen.
Millennials and direct mail = bigger ROI
What about that cost factor to print and send direct mail? Turns out direct mail’s ROI is about the same as that of social media marketing, and it’s higher than the ROI for paid search or online display ads.
Done well and consistently – think top of mind — direct mail can be an important part of a business’ coordinated marketing strategy, depending on the types of products or services it offers. To use it effectively, you just have to know your market, speak their language, provide something they find valuable and relevant, and design your mailer to appeal to them.