We live in a digital world, point blank. I, being born in the early 1990’s, can hardly recall my pre-digital life. I reminisce with nostalgia upon the days where I had to dial up on AOL so that I could check and see if I had any juicy emails or instant messages from my BFF’s. Now, I avoid my personal email like my aunt Jody’s fruit cake on Christmas Eve. I boldly venture into my email weekly to delete all of the recent “hot deals” and trends that are causing that little red icon on my phone to display some obnoxious number that I have an irrational hate for. Ask any millennial if they enjoy online advertisements and I bet they will tell you the same. I think that direct mail is more affective than digital mail simply because of the fact that online ads are overwhelming, generic, and frankly it is a little offensive how much the web knows about me and my habits.
More than anything, digital ads are annoying; THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. You cannot even binge watch YouTube videos or stalk your old high school classmates on social media platforms these days without being served ads left and right, how sad. Statistics show that young adults 24 years old and under are most responsive to direct mail, and I believe this is because they have to deal with so much digital mail that it has become nothing but noise. Digital ads have become obstacles standing in between us and whatever it is we are trying to do online that we are forced to watch/read/look at. If I click on an article that I think looks like a good read and then BAM I get served an advertisement about some mobile video game (cough cough Game of War) that I could care less about, the first thing I do is look for the “x” that will escape me from the torture that has been thrust upon me. Sometimes the “x” is even disguised, but it can not hide from us Millennials.
One of the many things that direct mail has going for it, is that it cannot be clicked away. It has a shelf life of sorts. Usually when mail is retrieved, it is set somewhere visible so that all of the members of the household can rummage through it at their leisure. Consumers spend on average 25 minutes with their direct mail before they act on it (keep or throw away). I know in my household my dad would set it on the counter top and then pester me until I opened all my mail because he did not want me to miss anything important. In his mind, mail that was directly sent to me had the potential of being important. If no one claims the mail then at the very least it is sitting out in the open getting stared at all day, much better than for a split second on a pesky internet ad.
I cannot say that I do not believe web ads are personal, because the internet knows more about me than I would like to think. However, direct mail is also personal but not in a creepy “I know everything about you” way. Digital ads are intrusive, direct mail is not. 70% of people say direct mail is more personal. There is something wistful about receiving a piece of tangible mail, and 59% of U.S. respondents say that they enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products. With digital mail, all we are to them are numbers and statistics that could be a potential conversion.
Most importantly to those in charge of ad campaigns, direct mail pays off. Reportedly 40% of customers try new businesses after receiving direct mail. Yes email blasts are inexpensive to create and it is as easy as clicking a button, but the people do not enjoy being constantly bombarded whilst trying to do their business online.
So, the next time you are told that direct mail is dead, don’t buy it! Direct mail still has a heartbeat and is still vital to an effective marketing plan that will help your business gain brand recognition and equity. If you don’t want to trust the opinion of an entitled, lazy, broke millennial, thats fine, but the statistics don’t lie, and they need to be brought to the attention of those seeking to improve their marketing mix.