I have a sixteen year old daughter who, like most kids her age is joined at the hip with her smart phone. She spends way too many hours on that and her tablet sampling the occasionally rich, varied and often stupid content on the net and social media not to mention the constant texting, Snap-Chatting, posting pictures (yikes!), etc.
It wasn’t that long ago she had a list of TV shows that she recorded and watched on a regular basis. Now, she doesn’t even do that. It’s all internet content.
However, the other day a letter came in the mail addressed to her and she immediately picked it up and opened it. It was just a renewal slip for her subscription to Teen Vogue which she promptly discarded as she’s no longer interested in that either. But the point is, she was curious to see what was inside.
Now someone born at the turn of the century who’s been marinating in the digital world for much of her sentient existence is perhaps not the best example of a target for direct mail. Then again, I think she represents the perfect target for direct mail.
According to the DMA 2014 Statistical Fact Book a far greater percentage of 18-21 year olds opened mail immediately in 2012 than they did in 1987 (62.8% versus 46.9%). This makes perfect sense to me as receiving a letter in the mail in 2012 is really a novelty and a surprise compared to 1987 when it was routine. I’ve pointed this out before but how many people complain these days about “junk mail”? Very few. There are far more complaints about e mail spam.
The DMA book is bursting with statistics showing direct mail to be resurgent in today’s world of direct marketing. Mail has many advantages over digital communication; not the least of which is it exists in the physical world – the “real” world that you can touch and feel. That mail piece will stay on the kitchen counter until someone opens it or moves it somewhere. Just the fact that it’s tangible gives it a permanence that just doesn’t come from e mail despite the latter’s great convenience.
As more and more payment and compliance transactions are done online, direct mail comprises a greater percentage of total print and mail volumes. At Elite Envelope, we see this to be very true in the composition of our business. Much of the envelope converting we do every day comes from printers who are producing slick envelopes to enclose creative and colorful direct mail content. A lot of the envelope printing including much of the four color envelope printing we do falls into the direct mail category including non-profit fundraising mail.
To ensure the viability of our industry into the future, we simply must appeal to millennials and even younger demographics. Getting them to look forward to receiving things in the mail should be high on the priority list for all direct marketers. It’s our future.