Though the exact years are widely debated, millennials are generally defined as the generation born after “Gen X” between 1982 and 2000. Though some sources say the cut off is as early as 1995. Regardless, they are a unique demographic in many ways. Every generation has their quirks and stereotypes. Millennials are no different. They communicate, consume, and work differently. The key to mail marketing to millennials is to know who they are, what they value, what challenges they face, and what motivates them.
So What Makes a Millennial a Millennial?
1. Focused on Work-Life Balance
Unlike their predecessors which are often stereotyped as workaholics, millennials place a huge emphasis on work-life balance. They are less likely to stay in jobs that aren’t fulfilling or don’t come with paid vacation. They value their time and life outside of work. Many work remotely or look for jobs with a high level of flexibility in scheduling.
2. Brand Loyal
This generation is made up of cautious consumers. They want to know what the company stands for before they are willing to make a purchase with them. They use their dollars to cast a vote by giving money to companies whose values align with theirs. When they find those companies they are extremely loyal to them.
3. Value Collaboration over Competition
One of the most unique aspects of millennials is that they hold community and collaboration as a core value. They are focused on issues of social responsibility and are more willing to support companies that have a cause. The success of the brand TOMS is a perfect example of this.
4. Natural Entrepreneurs
Millennials are the generation of side hustlers. They are willing to take risks to have a job they love, even if that means creating one for themselves while simultaneously working another job. In the age of Instagram and Facebook, starting a small business is now easier than ever, especially online. 54% say they either want to start a business or already have started one.
5. Over Educated and Underemployed
More than half of millennials with 4 year degrees are currently working in positions that don’t require them to have a degree at all. In turn, many young people are still living at home with their parents well into their late 20’s and early 30’s. This is another reason why millennials are such picky consumers: they often don’t have much disposable income.
“Brands will have to maintain constant communication with millennials. They need to be able to provide a lot of support whenever millennials want it. The 9-5 lifestyle is dead”. Forbes
6. Tech Savy
They are a generation of digital natives. Social media is largely dominated by this demographic. Millennials report they are more likely to become a loyal customer to a brand that interacts with them on social media. Social media is where they turn not only to connect with friends, but also to connect with companies they love. Millennials are used to having instant access to information 24 hours a day. This also means they move quick, requiring companies to do the same.
7. 1 Trillion in Debt
Millennials are graduating with more and more student loan debt every year. Forbes reported in 2017 that the collective total of student loan debt is at $1.3 trillion. This places a huge monthly strain on young people’s bank accounts. People are getting married, buying houses, and cars much later than their parents generation. The spending habits of millennials is different as a result of all of these factors.
8. The Green Generation
A recent study found this demographic is more willing to pay for sustainable products and services than any other generation. Millennials place a huge priority on caring for the planet and doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. They are willing to spend more for “green” products or companies.
9. The Individualists
Millennials get a bad rap for being self-absorbed Instagram obsessed snowflakes. But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Many young people are simply waiting longer to take part in the traditional rites of passage of adulthood such as marriage, kids, and buying a house. There are a million reasons why this is true. The takeaway is that to market successfully to millennials, especially mail marketing, companies have to understand where they are and what challenges they face.
10. Simplicity is key
Many millennials define themselves as minimalists. They are attracted to design that is simple but elegant, functional, and innovative without being overly complicated. Apple has known this for years and embodies this value perfectly.
Mail Marketing to the Millennial
So now you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I use this knowledge to inform my mail marketing campaigns??!!”
Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay.
So theres a few things to keep in mind. If you’re going to reach young people through direct mail keep it simple, beautiful, interactive, and personal. Theres no perfect formula, but you’re much more likely to increase your response rate with millennials if you have a better idea of who they are and what they’re looking for. One of the best ways to get to know a buyer persona is to look at what challenges they face. What problem are they experiencing that you can offer a solution to? Millennials are drawn to innovation, so get creative!