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How to Target Different Generations With Direct Mail

How to target different generations with direct mail

Marketers are faced with a unique challenge in 2021. That is, how to create direct mailing campaigns that can address the specific needs of multiple generations. What separates the generations from one another, and should you focus on only one or a couple generations? What types of mail can attract and engage each of these generations?

Creating a strategy for fostering customer relationships across generations starts by understanding that no age group exists in a vacuum. It’s also important to remember that individuals who happen to belong to the same generation are still more diverse than demographers portray them.

Your direct mail marketing campaigns should meet an audience of any generation wherever they are. You will need to stay up to date with the things that they are dealing with in the current day and age, which will probably look much different than just a few years ago. You’ll most likely need to update your direct mail processing and printing approaches frequently.

Here is an overview of the generational understanding you will need if you hope to create an effective marketing and communication strategy for your next campaigns.

Baby Boomers

For baby boomers, direct mail isn’t anything new; it has always had a place in this generation’s purchasing experience. Baby boomers have typically received trustworthy information about their credit cards, bills, and insurance through the mail. They’re familiar with looking through catalogs to find clothing or a piece of furniture for their homes. They have also flipped through magazines and brochures to keep up with the latest trends.

Over 80 percent of baby boomers value the reliability of direct mail, and a majority of them would rather have paper bills than digital, according to the USPS. Baby boomers are defined as “active spenders”, which means that most of them are approaching retirement, have money to spend, and are willing to purchase from premium brands. These traits should help you frame your marketing message to this generation.

Baby boomers look at purchases as investments, so it’s important to communicate the long-term value of your products or services as well as give out customer loyalty offers. As always, it’s good practice to include personalized elements and that you write your message clearly and concisely, using easy-to-read language. Incorporate an identifiable call to action (CTA). Although baby boomers do belong to an older generation, your message shouldn’t remind them of this fact. Keep your design clean, and incorporate images of age-appropriate models spending time with loved ones.

Generation X

Between the baby boomers and millennials are the Gen Xers, which are typically ignored by many marketers. However, they spend the second highest amount next to boomers, so marketers should start paying close attention. Generation Xers support both aging parents and high school or college-age kids. They tend to balance their use of digital and non-digital communications evenly. Importantly, they now control 31% of income in the United States.

About 60 percent of Gen Xers pick up the mail 6 out of 7 days during the week, and more than half review or sort through it six days per week. More than 70 percent receive their bills through the mail. The individuals in this age group are likely at the height of their careers, and are making their highest income. Many of them balance their jobs with caring for their children and aging parents, meaning that they are very busy.

Your message should be short and sweet, with a clear CTA. When marketing to Gen Xers, understand that they are a generation that is redefining what it means to age. Many individuals in this generation are living healthier lives and staying active, so be sure to include images that reflect this reality. Since this generation has lived through multiple recessions, they are more wary of making big purchases or investments. You need to earn their trust by being transparent and authentic in your messaging.

Generation Y / Millennials

Although many marketers mistakenly think that all millennials are glued to their phone screens, they actually love receiving traditional mail. In fact, over 60 percent of them do, according to a USPS survey. Over 50 percent of them respond to the CTA in their direct mail as well.

Direct mail gives millennials something more tangible to hold and see, which is interesting when you are living in a digital world. With millennials, it’s important to create a marketing piece that can appeal to them, and to do that you should blend multimedia and digital with print. Add QR codes to your postcards or use augmented reality to move the experience from traditional mail to online. Your message should be authentic and easy to understand.

Millennials often prefer to support campaigns that donate a portion of their profits to a cause, so if it fits in with your company, you can choose to support a non-profit.

Generation Z

Gen Z adults spend more than any other generation shopping for expensive products in stores because they like the convenience and intimacy. Just like the Gen X parents, this generation is self-reliant and live in a hyper-connected world. They mainly spend on retail, restaurants, and entertainment. They are comfortable using technology and enjoy a more personalized experience.

Many rely on opinions and reviews from their favourite celebrities and influencers, so it would be a good idea to include them in your campaign. They also tend to inform the older generations in their household, so if you are marketing to them, this information will be passed on. Generation Z are the most ethnically diverse and most open-minded generation in history, so understand that reality when crafting your marketing message. They also want a personalized experience, so you need to be using variable data to customize your mail pieces at scale.

Contact Troi Mailing Services in Toronto today to make sure that your marketing campaign reaches every generation with the messages that they want to see. Call us at 1-866-486-9350 or contact us here for more information about our direct mail services.

About: Seamus Barton
Seamus Barton - Author
Seamus Barton joined Troi Mailing Services in 2014 after graduating from York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing. As a manager of print and direct mail solutions, he sees how words play an important role in personalizing any experience. Seamus’ passion for writing motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that supports each Client’s individual needs. Please chat with Seamus about commercial printing and direct mailing campaigns, or about how to marry digital and physical strategies for optimal Smartmail Marketing success.

You can connect with Seamus on LinkedIn or by calling Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-0423 or via email at seamus@troimail.com. Read his latest article featured in Direct Marketing Magazine on “Dimensional Mail: Marketing’s Buffet Lobster

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