Direct Mail + Millennials: A Counterintuitive Jackpot?

Direct Mail + Millennials_ A Counterintuitive Jackpot_ - Pel Hughes print marketing new orleans

Millennials are the first generation to come of age in the Digital Age. They’re the most comfortable with social media, computers, technology, and digitizing and automating tasks. They came of age during a time when print media went on the decline. For example, many may have never even read a newspaper, much less subscribed to one. It would then seem obvious that Millennials don’t even check their mailboxes, and if they do, it’s only for Amazon packages and with the hope that there’s nothing from their school loan lenders. So, why would any marketer in their right mind use direct mail to reach Millennials?

Because Millennials love getting mail.

Okay, maybe not love, but they certainly don’t hate it.

Millennials actually *read* their mail?

Many of us in older generations have grown accustomed, perhaps even trained, to ignore the accumulation of mail in our mailboxes every day to search for the necessary things: bills, letters, greeting cards, magazines, and the like. Yet, direct mail had remained the backbone of so many companys’ marketing efforts. While we may no longer see so many catalogs, credit card offers, sample magazines, or flyers in our mailboxes, for many in older generations, this may seem like a welcome relief.

Yet, Millennials are actually more likely to open their mail and look at it. This is probably exactly why Millennials open their mail: they didn’t come of age with the same concept of “junk mail” that Generation X and Baby Boomers did.

Go Where the Competition Isn’t

On the other hand, generations that grew up in the digital age have their own version of “junk mail”: pop-up ads, emails promotions, text messages, banner ads, unwanted webpage redirects, exit pop-ups, targeted social media ads and the like. Millennials are accustomed to ignoring what is not interesting to them when they’re staring at their screens. On the other hand, they don’t get nearly as much physical mail, and digital printing has advanced so much in the 21st century that direct mail can take advantage of eye-catching colors, patterns, and logos as well as complete customization that a pop-up ad or an email can’t quite do. A beautiful direct mail package designed as if it was meant specifically for just that recipient vs. one more social media ad? The direct mail package is going to win.

And, direct mail doesn’t threaten to steal your data if you open it.

Take advantage of technology and make it personal

No matter how cute or interesting something is on the screen, it can only engage the eyes and the ears, whereas direct mail engages other senses. To hold a beautiful piece of mail and look it over means that it is making an impression, one that lasts longer than a banner ad. Even if the recipient throws the package away (an unfortunate, but expected result), your product, company, or services have still made a strong impression, and the recipient will remember your brand longer than if it flashed on the screen, competing for their attention with all the other ads.

While the digital age has risen, so has customization, from 3-D printers, to print-on-demand books, to Etsy sellers who will print lollipops with you and your fiancés name on them and your wedding date. Now, with variable data printing and short-run/print-on-demanding printing, you don’t need to budget a fortune to and gamble on an ROI or A/B testing: you find your target audience, you figure out what they like, and you mail it to them.


You can reach Millennials by sending them something in the mail that they can hold. You can customize it to reach different demographics within the Millennial generation, and because they don’t have a real opinion about mail, they’ll open it, giving you the precious seconds you need to make a lasting impression.