There are a few general misconceptions that people believe 1. about millennials & 2. about direct mail.
First of all, a Millennial is a person who was born roughly between 1980 and 2000. They are the hipsters and young adults today, ranging from first-time voters to adults in their mid 30’s, and make up the largest, most diverse generation in the US.* Millennials are commonly viewed as a passive, lazy, and technology engrossed generation. However, to quote a recent report made by the white house on Millennials, we can say that despite those misconceptions, “Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work.” The study goes on to report that millennials are more likely to take time for recreation, find new ways to experience things, contribute to society, and live close to family and friends than either the baby boomer or GenX generations. So while they may look different than previous generations, and while they may approach challenges in different ways, the millennial generation is coming into its own and far from “passive or lazy.”
Another misconception is that print is dead. In a world driven by instant everything, with access to the internet and communication 24/7, the typical target audience for direct mail is people aged 50 years and over. However, a 2016 survey made by the United States Postal Service and the American Association of political Consultants found that direct mail may have a much younger audience than before imagined, namely Millennials.**
It quotes a 2015 Gallup poll which illustrates that “36% of those under 30 “look forward
to checking the mail each day,” equal to the percentage for 30-49 year olds (36%) and just under the percentage for 50-64 year olds (41%).”
It also sites the USPS’®2014 Household Diary Study, which states that “41% of 22-24 year olds and 37% of 25-34 year olds immediately read mail sent to their house. This is near the level seen with older groups (41% for 35-54, 44% for 55-64).”
If you do the math, almost half of each generation group opens their mail and at least regularly checks it. That’s a pretty big demographic to miss out on.
About Millennials & Political Mail
If you couple together the millennials sense of community and the implications of receptivity to direct mail marketing, you have the perfect pairing for political campaigning.
The USPS’ 2016 study dives into this and reveals that Millennials read, discuss, and use political mail at higher rates than non-Millennials.**
It demonstrates that while being a tech-savy generation, Millennials appreciate well-cited, to the point information in the form of direct mail. They want to be able to verify it and look up both sides of the information, so social media and website integration is still key, but it’s that initial piece of mail that grabs their attention and get them moving on the webs. They want to see candid, true to life pictures vs. posed impersonal photographs and respond well to simple, thought-out design with limited text, bold headings, and high contrast colors. Millennials also appreciate a sense of humor, so let loose a little.
This study obviously has implications not only for our election, but also for direct mail in general. You know you have an audience that cares, the question is, what are you asking them to care about?*2014 White House Millennial Survey
**2016 Millennial & Political Mail Survey