[Infographic] How millennials respond to paper mail

Could Time Blocking be your solution to be more productive?
February 22, 2018
How to reinvent yourself professionally?
March 8, 2018

A study by the US postal service has investigated how millennials respond to direct mail – and has uncovered some surprising findings.

The United States Postal Service has released a report entitled “Still relevant: A look at how millennials respond to direct mail” which explores the relationship young adults have with direct mail.

The report states: “You know the stereotype: millennials are digital natives, glued to their smartphones, and the only way for marketers to reach them is through social media. The truth is, millennials respond to a low-tech marketing approach that’s been around for centuries: paper in a mailbox.

Paper in a mailbox

To support this argument, the report goes on to highlight some surprising statistics. Among them, the fact that 84% of millennials take time to look through their mail and the fact 64% would rather scan for useful information in the mail than email.

The report authors show that these preferences follow through into action too: 57% of millennials have made purchases based on direct mail offers.

But how does this compare with the rest of the population? The comparison throws up some of the most surprising stats of all:

millennials are more likely to scan the mail than non-millennials (71% to 66%),

millennials are less likely to discard mail without reading it (54% to 59%)

and they are more likely to show mail to others (24% to 19%).

Stronger emotional response

To understand why the US Postal Service partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business on a study to gauge responses to physical and digital advertising.

Using brain imaging, biometrics and questionnaires, the researchers found that although “participants processed digital ad content more quickly, they spent more time with physical ads.” They also found that “participants had a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remembered them better.”

Direct mail Vs Digital Ads

The findings reinforce those of an earlier study conducted for Canada Post, which found that advertising recall was 70% higher for direct mail compared to digital ads.

Given these findings, the study authors argue that direct mail continues to have an important and cost-effective role to play in the marketing mix.

It states: “Email has the highest median return on investment – 122% – because of its low cost. But the ROI for direct mail (27%) is about the same as for social media (28%). And it is a higher ROI than paid search or online display.

As the costs of social media continue to rise, one can expect the comparison to become even more favorable for direct mail advertising. But perhaps the most compelling statistic of all highlighted in the report is the simple fact that 87% of millennials enjoy receiving direct mail.

Check the full study here.