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Believe it or not, Millennials Love Mail, Here’s Why.

Words by Bailey Ryan

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Typical millennial inboxes are brimming with unremarkable content. We’ve almost never experienced something unique, created for the pure sake of beauty, from a brand or business in our entire lives. Every advertisement we see regularly is a thinly-veiled means to an end, a way for mega-corporations to sell us one more thing we don’t need – and didn’t even want until just now – to achieve a bottom line, to make it into the black. This is the type of content that we experience daily and we’re begging, dying for more – more individuality, more creativity, more authenticity.

It feels so luxurious to open an envelope. To pull out a card addressed to you and you alone. The intention of the creator flows through the texture of paper, the lines of handwritten text. The artwork ignites our own creativity. We love this feeling, who doesn’t? This feeling is so rare, so nostalgic, that many millennials don’t even know what it feels like. It’s so refreshing to be noticed as an individual, to feel valued and appreciated. Gestures like print mail make customers feel like more than just customers, they feel like they’ve entered an exclusive group of like-minded individuals, a special little club.

How Email Killed Print Marketing (almost)

The internet made almost everything cheaper. Selling and buying have never been easier. But does easier always mean better? I think we all know the answer to that: No. Over the last 30 years we’ve seen a seismic shift in the way that we live our lives. Companies and consumers alike have shamelessly ditched creativity and individuality in favor of convenience. Instead of receiving a beautiful card or catalog in the mail, we’re inundated with hundreds of new emails and texts but none of these are particularly special or memorable.

As email and digital marketing takes over the world, many of us have forgotten about one of the most meaningful and impactful forms of marketing: print. Inboxes overflow while mailboxes sit empty. This large-scale shift in marketing strategy over the last few decades has, in an unprecedented way, created a desire for nostalgia, for a world more personal than the one we live in now. Consumers want something evocative, something that makes them feel or desire something more. This opportunity to provide consumers with a unique experience is an excellent way to make a memorable impression.

Creating something authentic, something that’s backed by strong values and presented in a beautiful way, is one of the best ways to make a lasting impression. Crafting a beautiful experience has a significant effect on likability and customer interaction. Holding something in your hands, smelling the paper, admiring the artwork and message all provide a sense of calm. It feels nostalgic to hold mail and truly experience it. Paper mail creates a moment of intrigue, it’s engaging and makes people want to look further.

Standing Out in a Homogeneous World

In today’s world, it is becoming more and more difficult to stand out from the crowd, to break through the cacophony of big-businesses all vying for consumer attention. One of the most effective ways to do this is through print marketing like mail. Thoughtfully creating something to elicit emotions from your audience, carefully targeting their interests and needs, is massively impactful. Perhaps you want to create a sense of adventure so you create a beautiful graphic reminiscent of the local geography rendered in exciting colors. To signify new beginnings and growth you select simple artwork and neutral colors, lots of white. Print is so versatile, you can customize so many variables: paper type, weight and texture; colors; graphics; fonts; etc.

Making mail exciting and memorable is an excellent way for brands to exercise their creativity and inspire their customers simultaneously. Linking print media with online platforms via QR codes and social links makes it so simple for customers to hop from print to online shopping. Incorporating mail-exclusive giveaways, prizes and content is super exciting and makes people look forward to their next piece of mail. Donating a portion of profits gained via print mail to a charitable cause that resonates with your audience is another way to get customers involved and excited.

If you really want to go the extra mile, make your printed material so beautiful that your customers don’t want to throw it away. Imagine that a young freshman in college receives a beautiful postcard from a company promoting handcrafted ceramic vases. They’re totally out of her budget right now but they’re so beautiful that she decides to pin the postcard above her desk. For four years she sees that postcard and it motivates her to keep going because she knows when she graduates she’ll have an amazing job with a paycheck that will allow her to purchase something as beautiful as those vases. With her first paycheck she finally gets to buy her favorite vase. Now that’s a loyal customer!

Branding elements | Glick + Fray