You see them with their heads buried in their smart phones. They’re posting on Facebook, sharing a photo of their meal on Instagram and adding a “Snap” to their “Story” on Snapchat. Young people today, especially millennials, are the most connected generation ever. And marketers are looking to find the best way to connect with them.
Based on their smartphone habits, you may think that online, mobile ads and social interaction may be the best way to capture the attention of a millennial. But if you assume that, you’d be wrong.
Research has shown that millennials read books and magazines, read direct mail they receive in their mailbox and clip paper coupons from newspapers.
Millennials, Books and Magazines
A study by Publishing Technology found that millennials living in the U.S. are almost twice as likely to read a print book as an e-book. In addition, millennials would rather acquire their printed books from chain bookstores, used bookstores and public libraries as opposed to online retailers. It seems that millennials place a high importance on touch and personal interaction when it comes to buying and reading a printed book.
In February of 2015, there was a great article in the Washington Post that discussed the passion millennials have for print. In the article a 20-year-old junior at American University, Frank Schembari, said, when talking about a printed book, “I like the feeling of it. I like holding it. It’s not going off. It’s not making sounds.”
And, a University of Washington study found that even when students were given free e-textbooks 25% of the students still bought print versions of the book. Now, remember, these are individuals who have grown up with the Internet, smart phones and online but they still want to read a printed book. And this attitude has had an effect on publishers like HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Both companies have reported significant declines in e-book sales.
And when it comes to magazines, 58% of millennials interviewed said they enjoy looking at ads in magazines. And here’s the best part, 49% said they have made a purchase because of something they saw in a magazine.
Millennials and Direct Mail
Research also shows that while millennials spend a lot of time online they’re most likely to ignore pop-up ads, banner ads and email. In fact, millennials and others often consider Internet pop-up ads as an annoying distraction. While millennials may be numb to digital advertising print still grabs their attention. In fact, 82% of millennials say they read retail and department store direct mail. More than three out of four said they read direct mail from grocery stores and more than three in five read direct mail from clothing and accessory stores.
And, when they read their mail, more than 84% of millennials prefer to respond to direct mail by going to the company’s website either on a personal computer or a mobile device. Thus printed ads are a significant driver of web traffic.
Millennials and Greeting Cards
If millennials read mail from retail, department, grocery, clothing and accessory stores then how do you think they’ll feel about receiving a greeting card in the mail?
Think of your favorite millennial who may be turning 21. Would they rather receive an email with a link to an e-card or a Happy Birthday greeting card in the mail?
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Millennials, Coupons and Catalogs
According to the 2K16 Valassis® Coupon Intelligence Report, 82% of millennials use coupons from newspaper delivered coupon books, similar to 79% of baby boomers. And 34% of millennials report an increase during the past year in mail coupon usage, significantly higher than Gen X and boomer users.
And when it comes to catalog usage, 54% of millennials say they love and look forward to receiving retail catalogs. With 49% of millennials saying they wish that some companies they do business with had a print catalog. Combine this with the push that catalogs give to online sales and you have a perfect match.
For example, online retailer Bonobos has found that roughly 20% of their first-time customers now place orders after receiving one of the company’s catalogs. And these customers spend 1.5 times longer shopping on its website than those who didn’t receive a catalog.
Why Print is Important
The Centre for Experimental Consumer Psychology at Bangor University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to prove that content delivered in paper form is more stimulating than content delivered in virtual or digital form. Participants were presented with advertising material that was shown both on screen (virtual/digital) and in paper form while the fMRI scanner was running. The researchers found that the printed material created deeper impressions on the brain. The brain perceives physical material to be more genuine, according to the study.
The research clearly shows that millennials are comfortable with books, magazines, direct mail, and newspapers. It also shows that millennials find print to be useful and enjoyable. And we’ve seen that print creates deep and genuine impressions. So, if you want to reach millennials, print must be part of your marketing mix.
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