Many times, marketers feel that direct mail works best for only older generations. While it is true that older generations respond to direct mail, all the other generations do too. By limiting expectations, we are leaving a large chuck of the population out of direct mail marketing. This means you are leaving money on the table. Instead, let’s look at how we can leverage direct mail across all generations while increasing response.
There are four main generations to target currently with direct mail:
Traditionalists: Born 1945 and Before
This group is retired and enjoys getting direct mail. It’s a channel they trust and use when giving donations to nonprofit organizations.
Key Points: community minded, strong on personal morality, civic duty minded, loyal, team players, save money, pay with cash, avid readers, disciplined and self-sacrificing
Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964
Some people in this group are retired, while others are still out in the work force. They, like the traditionalists, enjoy and trust direct mail.
Key Points: self-righteous, self-centered, buy now on credit, women were the first to work consistently outside the home, divorce generation, optimistic, driven, one of the largest generations in history, like hierarchy and tradition
Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
This group is all out in the work force. They trust direct mail, but have less time to view it.
Key Points: first latch-key kids, individualistic, government and big business mean little, feel misunderstood, cynical, want to learn, want to make a contribution, late to marry and quick to divorce, into labels/brand names, deeply in credit card debt and cautious
Millennials: Born 1977 to 2000
This group is spread between working force and students. Many still live at home with their parents. They enjoy getting mail since they do not get a lot of it. They trust direct mail more than any other marketing channel.
Key Points: very large group, optimistic, focused, omnipresent parents, respect authority, they live with the reality that they could be shot at school, like to work in teams, want everything fast and immediately, they feel special and expect to be treated that way, assertive and prefer a relaxed work environment
After looking at each of these groups, how can we best target our direct mail? Keep in mind that identifying and solving pain points with direct mail gets the best response. By creating personas for groups of people based on buying history, interest, demographics, firmographics, psychographics, as well as generational information, you create a very strong persona to target. By understanding who your recipients are, you are better able to send them the right offers. This translates into greater responses.
Let the power of direct mail be driven by your database — not by guessing. In 2016 you need to personalize your direct mail which will require you to use multiple offers within a campaign. Your recipients expect to get direct mail that is useful to them, otherwise it’s considered junk mail and thrown away. Don’t end up in the trash bin — give them an exciting offer they cannot refuse!