Reaching Younger Generations in the Mail
The common consensus is that the older the audience, the more direct mail-friendly it is. Thus, seniors and baby boomers are often considered better direct mail prospects than Gen Y and iGen (also called Gen Z), for example.
However, it's never that simple. First of all, that consensus doesn't hold true for all industry sectors. Second, the format, offer and creative chosen have a big impact on how a particular generation responds to the mail piece. Third, in the cases where the generalization does hold true, it doesn't mean that an entire generation should be ignored—quite the contrary, it's an invitation to figure out a better way to access it in the mail.
Here are four ways to develop mail that works for younger generations or, in most cases, for all.
1. Send Out Bold Efforts ... and Be Less Cynical
"The young folks don't get direct mail." "They don't want direct mail." "Don't send it to 'em."
Hold on just a second, direct mail experts caution. "I've seen quite a bit of research lately that suggests younger people use media pretty much the same way older people do," asserts Elaine Tyson, copywriter and president of Tyson Associates. "I'm not convinced that nothing can be sold to young people through the mail." Tyson does a lot of teaching in the direct marketing field, and she notes that her classes are always jammed with young people who want careers in print media and are determined to learn as much as possible about direct mail.
Nancy Harhut, former senior vice president/managing director of relationship marketing at Hill Holliday and executive creative director of Harhut for Hire, also agrees that direct mail remains viable for the younger generations. "I've seen studies that indicate even younger consumers prefer certain types of communications (financial being one of them) that arrive in the mail," she says.