How to Get Millennials to Respond to Your Direct Mail

For many companies that have been doing direct mail for a long time, getting younger people to respond to their direct mail offers has been difficult. It’s not from lack of trying, so what could it be? You know your list is well targeted, so why are Millennials not buying from you? There could be several reasons, so let’s take a look at the most common ones.

Direct Mail millennialsFor many companies that have been doing direct mail for a long time, getting younger people to respond to their direct mail offers has been difficult. It’s not from lack of trying, so what could it be? You know your list is well targeted, so why are they not buying from you? There could be several reasons, so let’s take a look at the most common ones.

5 Reasons Millennials Aren’t Responding to Your Direct Mail Offers:

1. No Option to Buy Online: When Millennials are ready to make a purchase, they buy online 84 percent of the time according to a 2015 study by Quad. When you do not offer a way for them to purchase from you online, you are losing out on sales.

2. Not Mobile Friendly: Your website, your landing pages and your shopping cart all need to be mobile friendly. More purchases are done every day from mobile devices than from desktops. Do you make it easy for them to purchase from you? If not, you lose the sale.

3. Not on Social Media: Yes, social media matters to Millennials. They do quite a bit of research before they buy and social media is one of the places they look. Use social media to make yourself available for questions, a resource for research and a way to humanize your company. They like to do business with real people. How can you do social media better?

4. Real Connection: Millennials like to make a connection with your company. In order to do that you need to be authentic, open and don’t be afraid to be funny. Millennials value companies that make them feel good. How does your direct mail make them feel?

5. Use of Technology: Has your company embraced technology or are you still plugging along with old systems? Technology is second nature to Millennials and they expect companies to keep up. You don’t have to be on the cutting edge, but you do need to be in at least 2013 — not 1997. Find ways to integrate technology so that you make it easier on them. That can be in-store, in your direct mail, on your website and in the way you communicate with them.

Millennials are a very large pool of potential customers for you, so take the time to consider how your direct mail can stand out to them more. Do any of these sounds like issues you may need to address? If so, don’t feel bad you are not alone. Now that you are aware of them, what steps can you take now to start fixing them? Millennials like getting direct mail, so make sure that yours is one they want to respond to. Your offer does not always need to be different for this age group, but you do need to really look at your overall messaging to make sure you are appealing to them.

One question we get a lot is, “Should I add technology to my direct mail pieces?” The answer is that it depends. Adding technology just to have it is not going to be effective. Can you add technology such as augmented reality, video screens or something else to your direct mail in a way that gives people a better experience with your piece? Will it get them to buy from you? If so, then yes, adding technology is a good idea as long as it is well planned out. The experience must benefit your prospects and start from a place of what is in it for them. Have you had success with mailing to Millennials? If so, I would love to hear about it.

Like a Bolton From the Blue: A Rebrand Success Story

Sometimes you see a rebrand revealed that just makes you go “!!!!!!!!!!” in a good way. Like, “Ahhh yes I see what they were going for here and it’s working for me.” Early 2017 has kicked off with one of the best rebrand jobs I could imagine. The one … the only … Michael Bolton.

Sometimes you see a rebrand revealed that just makes you go “!!!!!!!!!!” in a good way. Like, “Ahhh yes I see what they were going for here and it’s working for me.” All the time, resources, programming, designing, blood sweat and tears that go into a full rebrand are, of course, worth it in the end when your brand has the image, message, and audience it needs for lasting success.

I’m bringing this up because early 2017 has kicked off with one of the best rebrand jobs I could imagine, and since a rebrand is a marketing topic, I could use it as an excuse to talk about the one … the only …

Michael Bolton.

bolton1

Is it the flowing locks, the piercing eyes, the sultry vocals, the full combo? Something about this guy cast a spell over millions of the so-inclined population in the 80s and early 90s, resulting in 75 million-plus record sales and multiple Grammy awards. But as for his staying power with his fans’ children  … well, my earliest memory of the Bolt is “that weird looking guy in the love songs commercial that comes on during Doug.” A few years later, he was upgraded to “the guy who sings the Hercules song.”

I think it’s safe to say the same traits that made him a heartthrob in his heyday were a recipe for the kids of his fans to brand him tragically uncool. So how’d he end up front and center of Netflix release, Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special, landing rave reviews and waves of young adult viewers?

From my humble perspective, Bolton (or whoever manages Bolton’s publicity and marketing, at least) succeeded where so many fail: They tapped into the specific sense of humor of the younger demographic, and they used it to get in on the joke rather than be the butt of it.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not so into blanket “market to millennials” statements, but if there’s one generalization I feel pretty comfortable making, it’s this. The millennial sense of humor has three important components: irony, self-awareness and meme-ability. (This third one is a bit abstract, I know, it’s the sort of thing you just know when you encounter it.) Michael Bolton’s return to the mainstream is steeped in all three, in all the best of ways.

14watching-master768Bolton’s arrival in the millennial conscience, at least as “cool” or “funny,” can probably be traced back to a running joke in the 1999 cult classic Office Space. A character in the movie shares his name with the 80s superstar, and has to deal with constant “Are you related to…?” and “Are you a fan of…?” questions throughout the course of the movie and, presumably, his life. From there, the seed was planted.

It wasn’t until 12 years later, in 2011, that comedy trio Lonely Island really made that seed bloom by booking Bolton for a single and accompanying music video. In Jack Sparrow, the trio records what sounds like a fairly typical mainstream rap track, until Michael Bolton, now rocking a short ‘do, continues to “interrupt” with a dramatic, power ballad hook telling the story of the popular Pirates of the Caribbean character. And it’s a heckin jam. As of the time I’m writing this post, the video has 163 million views.

From there, Michael Bolton has successfully become cool to the kids. Fast forward to 2017, and they’ve taken that idea and run the whole nine yards with it. I won’t get into the absurd but hilarious (and raunchy) plot of the Netflix special, but suffice it to say, Michael must harness the power of his … ahem … mood-making music to save Christmas.

It’s the perfect way to combine his cheesy, saccharine romance image of the past with the ridiculous, campy-yet-clever style of today’s comedic landscape. At some point, he faces off with saxophonist Kenny G (played by Andy Samberg) while the real Kenny G plays a janitor.

The concept itself might have been enough to get people intrigued, but Netflix had some seriously killer marketing to go with it, like these amazing promotional videos they tweeted last week. (Warning, they’re PG-13.)

In one more win for the Make Bolton Cool Again publicity team, last week Vanity Fair released an incredible video in which Michael Bolton goes undercover as a barista at a local coffee shop, singing the customers’ names and orders. It’s pretty much the best four minutes of my life. “The Bolts served us,” one 20-something hipster tells the camera in excitement. If that’s not proof of winning over a new generation, I don’t know what is.

He knows he’s kinda lame, he knows his whole shtick back in the day was first-dance-wedding-playlist-music, and he knows no one can deny he’s got pipes. All it takes his his willingness to play up all these facts to the fullest, and BAM, he’s got himself a whole new audience. I have so much respect for every creative mind involved in this endeavor.

The Bolts even inspired our millennial-run marketing and events department here at Target Marketing to add a new feature to our corner of the office. Starring Michael Bolton, and featuring some random other Boltons, I present to you….

img_9775

… The Bolton Board. 

Happy (week after) Valentine’s Day!

Will Millennials Fully Experience the Analog Revival?

Analog is back. It’s hip, it’s retro and it’s hot in film photography, print books and paper notebooks. But will the embrace of tactile, non-digital media among Millennials extend to music? That remains to be seen.

Analog is making a comeback
Analog is making a comeback

Analog is back. It’s hip, it’s retro and it’s hot in film photography, print books and paper notebooks. But will the embrace of tactile, non-digital media among Millennials extend to music? That remains to be seen.

Instagram shows over 3 million posts each for the hashtags #filmphotography, #filmisnotdead and #polaroid. Photo booths are popular at weddings. Young people are increasingly enamored with pictures taken on devices other than their phones, even though Instagram remains the go-to place to view and share them.

My students who have done class research projects on ebook readers have consistently found that college students prefer print books over electronic ones for classes. I’ve observed an increasing number of students using paper notebooks rather than tablet computers and laptops to take notes. Hardcover diary-type notebooks are gaining a hipster cache, and recently, I had a student enter an appointment in a paper calendar, as I remarked, “How quaint!”

A New York Times review says the new David Sax book, “The Revenge of Analog,” is “a powerful counter-narrative to the techno-utopian belief that we would live in an ever-improving, all-digital world.” The review adds that the author contends that the analog revival “is not just a case of nostalgia or hipster street cred, but something more complex.”

But while most things we can have and hold are easily accessible to Millennials, music is different. Fortune magazine reported vinyl record sales hit $416 million last year, the highest since 1988, according to the RIAA. But there are several barriers to the mass adoption of analog music, most significant of which is the need for a turntable and vinyl platters. Millennials own digital music and listen to it on portable devices through headphones, occasionally through a Bluetooth speaker. I’ve written before about the Millennial music experience being more individual than social, more like filling your ears with sound than filling a room with sound.

It’s easier for Baby Boomers to embrace analog music, because many still have their vinyl collections stored away. Marketing consultant Lonny Strum recently wrote in his blog Strumings about re-experiencing the joy of a turntable needle drop, saying “What the process of using a turntable has reminded me of is the joy of interaction/engagement with music that vinyl provided. The ‘needle drop’ (and alas the subsequent vinyl scratches) were all part of the process of listening to music. The selection of the song, the cut of the album took time and consideration, not a millisecond fast-forward that digital allows. I rediscovered the snap, crackle and pop from excessive play in past years. In fact, I instantly recall the places in songs of my 45s and LPs where the crackle, or pop existed, as if it were a key part of the song.”

EmotionsThese are the types of experiences that the Times notes in reviewing “The Revenge of Analog,”

“ … the hectic scratch of a fountain pen on the smooth, lined pages of a notebook; the slow magic of a Polaroid photo developing before our eyes; the snap of a newspaper page being turned and folded back … ”

A recent study published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society concluded that “MP3 compression strengthened neutral and negative emotional characteristics such as Mysterious, Shy, Scary and Sad, and weakened positive emotional characteristics such as Happy, Heroic, Romantic, Comic and Calm” making the case that analog music might actually be a more positive and pleasant experience.

Will Millennials and the generations who follow get to experience it?

WAM! 3 Consumer Segments That Drive Growth

With consumer spend hitting sporadic highs and lows, marketers are looking for segments of the population that show promise. And, who can blame them? There is news of consumer confidence that paints a choppy picture of consumer sentiment. But the U.S. is full of segments and sub-segments that can be drivers of success for any given brand. The entire population is made up of consumers, after all.

With consumer spend hitting sporadic highs and lows, marketers are looking for segments of the population that show promise. And, who can blame them? There is news of consumer confidence that paints a choppy picture of consumer sentiment. But the U.S. is full of segments and sub-segments that can be drivers of success for any given brand. The entire population is made up of consumers, after all.

There are three segments that all brands should take a close look at. These segments may not immediately come to mind, and companies may respond that their segmentation strategy is different from others. Even though this is true, there are three segments that all consumer brands should consider specific strategies for: women, the affluent and millennials. Or WAM, for those who like catchy acronyms.

Let’s look at the numbers. The important ones are: 85 percent, 47 percent and 34 percent.

black-women-shoppingSegment No. 1: Women

Women are the purchasing officers of the household and the chief investment officer when it comes to the majority of purchases. Many brands already have this information, but how many of them truly delve into the experiences of women in order to adjust products and the buying experiences to them?

According to Pew Research’s “The American Family Today,“ 40 percent of women with children under 18 at home say they are the main income earner in the family. Along with this comes a busy lifestyle. If they have kids and a full-time job, how much time can they really spend on shopping? At a recent conference, I heard that consumers are now saying that convenience is as important as price in deciding where to shop.

As a result, brands who cater to this can expect a loyal following. What are the priorities of a busy mom? Reasonable prices, healthy items/safety, a quick shopping experience and some understanding. How many times have you had a sleeping child in the car and needed to buy milk, detergent or anything without getting out of the car? The ones who are nodding at their screens right now are busy moms. And, there are a lot of them out there. Brands who cater to the female customer and really know her needs and challenges can expect a loyal following.

AffluentSegment No. 2: The Affluent

According to a study by Pew Research, the affluent have seven times the income than the middle income segment, and their income has grown by 47 percent in the last 30 years. This reflects upward mobility, as middle class households attain greater incomes and rise to the affluent segment. As a result, affluents have a significant amount of purchase power.

What do they buy? They are not very likely to buy only luxury brands, and just as likely as non-affluents to shop at stores like Gap and Macy’s, per the February 2016 Synchrony Financial Affluent Study. In terms of future spend, they say they intend to spend more money on experiences, rather than things, and they intend to increase their spend on travel. As a result, brands who reflect these needs may tap into this growth trend.

Millennial vacationers

Segment No. 3: Millennials

There has been a great deal of focus on millennials — they have been analyzed, debated, probed, viewed and quoted a great deal. A very great deal. A Google search on “millennial” yields about 18 million hits. That’s a lot of analysis. Well, they are a huge generation, and they are going to be coming into a good deal of discretionary income.

As they grow older, their incomes will outpace their student loan burden, and that means they will have money to spend. But their shopping habits are very different than past generations. They are all digital all the time. They are completely comfortable with digital shopping and becoming more interested in mobile payments. Social media drives a great deal of their spend, particularly for the younger millennial. According to a June 2016 Synchrony Financial Digital Study, about 75 percent of millennials say they have purchased something as a result of social media. As a result, marketers must look at this growing population and put strategies in place to attract them with digital technology and social media content.

This country is a beautiful combination of many segments and sub-segments. It is impossible to identify any one segment that will lead to success for any retailer. However, keep in mind WAM — women, affluents and millennials — as segments to watch, for future successful strategies.

Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the blogger and not necessarily Synchrony Financial.

Business IS Personal, and Other Leadership Rules

“Business is one of the most human things in the world,” Simon Sinek said early on in his presentation during &THEN. He shared that when he hears someone say, “It’s not personal, it’s business” he just laughs to himself. No, no it’s not … business is personal. It’s human.

I have a new marketing crush. It’s Simon Sinek.

Simon SinekHe was the Monday morning inspirational keynote speaker during DMA’s &THEN event last week and I’m still running over in my head all the things he discussed in under an hour, a week later, because he gave us that much to chew on.

His wonderfully dynamic speaking skills aside, Simon was able to be upfront and frank with a hall full of marketers.

“Business is one of the most human things in the world,” he said early on in his presentation. Then he commented on that when he hears someone say, “It’s not personal, it’s business” he just laughs to himself. No, no it’s not … business is personal. It’s human.

business_personalAnd human is something we could all stand to do a little better, and a bit more often. Especially in leadership roles.

Simon spoke about how in this ever-connected world, technology shouldn’t replace human contact. Instead, it should bring humans together. And leaders need to take the charge.

Certificates Don’t Make a Leader

“[There’s an] incredible lack of leadership across the world today in every industry,” Simon said. It may seem harsh, but hang on before you brush off his point.

As humans, we like intensity because its easy to measure, and this is how leadership is often taught:

  1. Attend a leadership seminar
  2. Earn a certificate
  3. ”I’m a leader now!”

It’s the intensity we crave, but that’s not how it works. Consistency matters more than intensity. Good leaders are built over time, energy and actions.

Another point of his I really liked was that good leaders create an environment of vulnerability, which allows people to speak up and honestly ask for help and feel safe. If you know you can ask for help with a project and not fear a layoff or something else, employees will do so. This builds trust and stronger teams (trust me, THIS WORKS).

Put the Phone Down

We’re all saying this, but Simon both reinforced points and made some new ones.

When someone’s smartphone is out — whether in their hand, on a table or anywhere else visible — it makes the other person in the conversation feel less important. Why? Because at any moment it’s understood that a notification can go off, and attention gets transferred directly to the phone.

During a meeting, a smartphone on the table announces to all “you’re not important.” And yes, Simon let us all know that flipping the phone over in an attempt to be polite is still just as bad. And it’s true! How many meetings have you sat through with all the buzzing from phones being set to vibrate … or the phone with the ringer still on?

It’s distracting, but we all do it … and probably because a fair number of the people in leaderships roles are doing it. Not to be jerks, but because of this need to constantly be connected. Here, the tech gets in the way of the relationships.

Toward the end of his presentation, Simon said, “Whoever understands people the best wins.” “People” are our prospects, customers and even our fellow employees. Make it personal … because that’s just what good business is.

There will probably be a couple more blog posts in the future that will reference Simon’s presentation at &THEN 2016 … he gave me a lot to think about.

Report: Mobile Apps May Be Peaking

The latest comScore report, “The 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report,” had me wondering if we had hit “peak-app.” Just how many apps can users crowd onto their smartphones and tablets? And while looking for such insights in the report, I learned quite a lot of other details useful for marketers. Did you now know that:

Deliver_Brand_In_Digital2-2(1)The latest comScore report on “The 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report” had me wondering if we had hit “peak-app” — just how many apps can users crowd onto their smartphones and tablets?

And while looking for such insights in the report [downloadable here], I learned quite a lot of other details useful for marketers. Did you now know that:

  • Digital Love, Mobile Lust — Over the past three years, our total digital media time has grown by 53 percent, driven mostly by mobile apps. Our actual time spent on desktop media during the past year actually declined by 11 percent. Mobile now represents two of every three digital media minutes.
  • App Share of Digital — Smartphone apps all by themselves account for nearly half of all digital media time spent, and three of every four minutes while on mobile.
  • Hours and Hours — Millennials love their apps: the 18-24 age segment spends 93.5 hours a month (June 2016) on smartphone apps and ages 25-34 spends about 85.6 hours. Baby Boomers spend 55.6 hours and posted year-over-year growth of 37 percent!
  • App vs Web — We spend seven times more time in mobile apps than we do on mobile Web – that’s actually remained steady, even as our tablet use had dropped off
  • Peak App? — Roughly half of smartphone users download one or more apps per month and half don’t download apps at all. Six percent download eight or more apps a month. Those who download five or more per month are largely ages 18-44, male and Hispanic.
  • Organizing Apps — Sixty-one percent of age 18-34 users organize their apps into folders, while just 25 percent of age 55 and older users do, primarily because Millennials download more apps and don’t want to have more than four screens with apps on them.
  • Pushback or “Push notification fatigue” — More smartphone users are rejecting app update notifications. Thirty-eight percent never or rarely agree to such notifications (up 31 percent last year) while 27 percent often or always agree to them (down from 33 percent in 2015).
  • Loyalty at the Top — Most smartphone users use 27 apps per month, but nine of every 10 mobile app minutes are spent with a user’s top five apps. Try breaking into that group!
  • App Herding — Millennials concentrate more mobile app time within “Top 10” ranked apps in their cohort than older age groups do.
  • Thumbs Up — My absolute favorite: Baby boomers are six times more likely as Millennials to only operate their smartphone with two hands. Of one-handed smartphone users, Millennials are most likely to position apps on their phones within “thumb reach.”

This report raises a lot of questions about designing, reinvigorating and reimagining apps. Can a brand break through? As bullish this current app report from comScore is, Gartner is foretelling a decline in app dominance. Whichever future holds, I foresee lots of thumb surgeries and reading glasses.

Millennial Microaggression: Aren’t All Seniors Digital Dimwits?

In both my consulting business and my teaching I frequently hear Millennials talk about seniors not being tech savvy. While the term “seniors” has different age boundaries, some as low as 50-plus and others as high as 70-plus, the message comes through that most Baby Boomers and those older than them don’t have the digital chops to receive messages online and through their smartphones.

gen yIn both my consulting business and my teaching I frequently hear Millennials talk about seniors not being tech savvy. While the term “seniors” has different age boundaries, some as low as 50-plus and others as high as 70-plus, the message comes through that most Baby Boomers and those older than them don’t have the digital chops to receive messages online and through their smartphones.

So when an agency’s digital media specialist says, “We’ll need to do some offline stuff for the senior market” or a student working on a marketing project says, “You can’t reach the older demographic on social media,” I have to say, “You know, you’re talking about people my age.”

It makes them pause because they may be friends with me on Facebook, or they may be one of my 1,000-plus LinkedIn connections. They may have collaborated with me on digital campaigns for their clients or been coached by me in the Collegiate ECHO Challenge. Some have even been lucky enough to take an Uber with me to a lunch that I booked on OpenTable (I usually have to buy). So they know my capabilities, but don’t seem to connect the dots that there are others my age and older who know their way around the digital space.

Some of the older digital natives have a vague recollection of accessing AOL on dial-up, and some may remember texting using the telephone keypad of a flip-phone (press the number two three times for the letter C). But that’s about as far back as their technology journey goes. They’re amazed when they hear stories of a workplace before email or even fax machines and primitive home electronics. “How did you get anything done?”and “OMG, black and white TV?”

Pew Internet data does show that fewer people aged 65-plus have smartphones and broadband access than younger age groups. But my personal experience has been that, more than age, the factor driving the digital divide is workplace experience. If someone in their 60s worked in an environment where they used a personal computer most of the day, they are more likely to be tech-savvy than someone half their age who works as a skilled tradesman and uses a different set of tools.

So while the recent focus on microaggression is centered mostly on racism and sexism, let me add ageism to that mix. Recently over dinner with a student, I was discussing a marketing project aimed at Boomers and he said, “So you have to figure out what all these old people want.” Really!?!

Automation Beating Humans at CX

What’s more important to customer experience? Your people or your automation? Recent evidence from the fast food sector isn’t so good for the humans. If you’re looking to build a great CX, it may be time to stop training your humans, and start building a better robot.

A Chinese maid service robot: Is this the CX customer actually want?
A Chinese maid service robot: Is this the CX customer actually want?

What’s more important to customer experience (CX)? Your people or your automation?

Recent evidence from the fast food sector isn’t so good for the humans.

Andy Puzder, CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., talked to Business Insider about his experience putting order kiosks in their restaurants to supplement human order takers. Puzder commented to Business Insider: “I’ve been inside restaurants where we’ve installed ordering kiosks … and I’ve actually seen young people waiting in line to use the kiosk where there’s a person standing behind the counter, waiting on nobody.”

Puzder is even considering opening a new restaurant that wouldn’t require human interaction, similar to Eatsa in San Francisco.

Such ideas are gaining traction across the industry. Not just because it could mean labor savings, but because there appears to be a customer base that prefers automation to human interactions.

And the reason seems to be … Millennials hate dealing with people.

That doesn’t just come from Puzder. Frischer restaurants in the Midwest U.S. did a study on their drive through traffic, and found that a third of 18 to 24 year-olds use the drive through because, “they don’t feel like dealing with people”

They prefer a process that, although not automated yet, is as close to automated as possible.

Human interaction isn’t helping the CX for them. Humans are ruining it.

So apply that finding beyond the fast food space. Where does that leave us?

For years we’ve been thinking good people are the key to good service. But what if the real key is automation?

After all, we already know customers don’t want a relationship with their cough medicine, they just want to stop coughing. If that’s the CX they want, why not let the robots do it?

I’ve long heard readers and contributors bemoan the loss of the human touch. … Maybe they only notice the lack of touch because they’re not getting good robots?

This isn’t just about machines replacing humans for productivity or financial reasons. It’s about an intuitive CX. If you know what your customers want, why do they need to ask a human for it? Why not just set it up automatically? Or on demand at the push of a button?

The Robot CX Uprising Has Already Begun

We can already see several very successful businesses that were built simply on improving CX by letting machines do what humans may not be very good at:

  • Uber automated your taxi dispatch and hiring.
  • GrubHub automated restaurant order taking and delivery.
  • Facebook automated friendship.
  • Amazon automated … well, everything about shopping.

Jeff Bezos and the robot uprisingSo if you’re looking to build a great CX, it may be time to stop training your humans, and start building a better robot.

Direct Mail for All Generations

Many times, marketers feel that direct mail works best for 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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 12.52.28 PMMany 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!

Pokémon Go Finally Gets Augmented Reality Right

We here at Target Marketing have tried to get behind augmented reality on several occasions. I even once said “of course QR Codes are gonna work, it just makes sense!” Scott Stratten said they killed kittens. Turns out he was right. So imagine my chagrin to see Pokemon — a bunch of Bulbasaurs and Jigglypuffs led by an electric rat — role out an augmented reality experience that conquered the world in less than a week.

We here at Target Marketing have tried to get behind augmented reality (AR) on several occasions. QR Codes on the cover, Layar throughout the issue, some goofy stuff in our digital editions …

I even once said, “Of course QR Codes are gonna work, it just makes sense!” Scott Stratten said they killed kittens. Turns out he was right.

So imagine my chagrin to see Pokémon — a bunch of Bulbasaurs and Jigglypuffs led by an electric rat — roll out an augmented reality experience that conquered the world in less than a week.

Pokémon Go leaves Tindr too wet to light, aiming for Twitter next.
Pokémon Go leaves Tindr too damp to light, aiming for Twitter next.

In less than a week, the free Pokémon Go app, available on Android, iOS and the Nintendo DS handheld game, is on its way past Twitter in active users, and already bigger than Tindr. (Does that mean Millennials prefer catching Charizards to dating?)

And the player base isn’t so much kids (although there’s a lot of them too), but young adults who grew up with the earlier Pokémon games.

What does all of that mean for marketers? Here are five things I’ve learned watching the electric yellow rat take over the world … again.

1. There’s a Way to do Augmented Reality Right

I think a lot of marketers have seen that, when it comes to augmented reality, just because you build it does not mean they’ll come. The novelty of augmented reality isn’t enough, and neither is getting a piece of your web content launched from a ketchup bottle or whatever else your trigger is.

Pokémon Go is a game that asks players to walk around outside to capture Pokémon hiding out in he world. And players are doing that! Social media is full of jokes about the fact that young adults are running around all over cities and the suburbs to catch Pokémon. It’s working.

How is that different from what we did in Target Marketing magazine? Or even what Google offered with Google Glass? Well for starters it’s an experience that is 100 percent designed to be augmented reality. Pokémon go doesn’t treat AR as just a way to access existing content on a new device, it is an AR-only experience. If you want those Pokémon, you have to take your phone for a walk.

It’s also a very novel experience that’s put together well. Nantic Labs, the company that actually developed the game for Nintendo, has been doing similar games for a long time. They know how to deliver an experience that gets the best out of the platform. That’s essential to a successful AR experience.

2. Grant the Wish

An article on Vox made a great point about why this game is such a hit with young adults:

Pokémon Go is an attempt at realizing what fans always wanted from Pokémon … Since the games came out for Nintendo’s handheld consoles, fans all around the world have shared a dream: What if Pokémon weren’t limited to the games’ world? What if they were real and inhabited our world? What if we could all be Ash Ketchum, the TV show’s star trainer, who wanders the world in his quest to catch them all and earn his honors by defeating all the gym leaders? I want a Pikachu in real life, dammit!
—”Pokémon Go Explained,” German Lopez, Vox

Every market has an ungranted wish. If you can find that wish and make it come true, they will love you for it.

Pokémon Go lets fans who grew up watching these cartoons and playing these games break that wall they never could and hunt Pokémon in real life.

What does your target market want that no one’s ever been able to give them? Maybe it’s not a specific thing, but a way to access a product or service, like Uber putting taxis at the tap of an app. Maybe it’s an experience they could never have before, like Pokémon Go.

Identify that wish and think hard about how you could do it. You may have five or 10 years of new technology to make something happen that no one realized could be done before.

3. No, You Can’t Buy a Pokéstop