Marketing, Mail and Millennials

What do you think of when it comes to marketing to Millennials? Terms like online, social media, viral video and crowdsourcing probably come to mind. But what about regular postal mail?

The United States Postal Service recently explored this question, and its Office of the Inspector General has just released a new report entitled Millennials and the Mail. This report researched Millennials’ brand perceptions of the USPS, usage patterns of postal services, and needs for the future, using data from OIG’s Postal Omnibus Survey, a moderated online discussion board with nearly 70 invited millennials, and a general population survey of close to 2500 Millennials.

Millennials are more mail-friendly than you think

Many of this study’s findings are in keeping with an increasingly plugged-in generation. Fewer Millennials check the mail every day (44 percent versus nearly three-quarters of Baby Boomers), they find sending personal correspondence by mail to be laborious, and they strongly prefer online bill payment – in fact, less than a quarter pay their bills by mail. And they would much rather use online and self-service postal tools nowadays than wait in line for Mr. Zip. However, there were also a few surprises:

Direct mail marketing works – with a catch: Believe it or not, Millennials are actually more responsive to direct mail marketing than older generations: 62 percent visited a store in the last month in response to a mailing, versus 55 percent for Generation X and 52 percent for Baby Boomers. But the type of mail they get matters – they love coupons, are lukewarm about advertising, and hate donation requests.

They still enjoy getting mail: Millennials love getting personalized mail: 75 percent say that receiving mail from family or friends makes them feel special. In particular, they like hearing from people by mail for events such as holidays, birthdays or special occasions.

They like the US Postal Service overall: Satisfaction levels with the Postal Service are as strong as ever among Millennials versus other generations, with 80 percent of those surveyed being either somewhat or very satisfied, and nearly half of Millennials prefer using USPS to ship small packages. (However, less than a quarter prefer USPS for larger packages, with price being a major factor.)

The big issue: trust and accuracy

Perhaps the most important finding is that trust is extremely important to the Millennial consumer – in particular, trust that their package will be delivered as scheduled, without getting lost. Survey findings show that this generation is interested in seeing the Postal Service evolve to have more convenience, customized features such as photo cards, and perhaps even a loyalty program in the future. But above all, depending on USPS for what they send and receive was their highest rated factor.

This is the place where data quality and the mail intersect: more than ever, your customer reputation and your marketing effectiveness depends on accurate contact information. Particularly for young consumers, there is a lower tolerance than ever for not getting things right and delivering what you promise. So even as we continue to do more things electronically online, using mail effectively continues to be an important customer touch point for the Millennial generation.

Learn how Service Objects’ Address Validation Solutions can help your business increase mail deliverability and maximize customer satisfaction – no matter what the generation.

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