Millennials-those born between 1981 and 1996—have received harsh generalizations and damning criticisms more than any other generation in history. People generally think of millennials as entitled, tech-savvy, attention-seeking, job-hoppers, but also confident, socially-aware and achievement-oriented. Nonetheless, these are antipodal characteristics that may not accurately define this generation.
Many major publications and research companies have a lot to say about this particular age group—from Forbes Magazine, American Press Institute, Huffington Post, Deloitte, and countless others. And a lot of them say different things. This particular age group is always under scrutiny, and still, they are difficult to pin down. So why is everyone so eager to define millennials?
It turns out millennials are on the brink of becoming the largest living adult generation in the United States, surpassing the baby boomers. In fact, millennials are already the largest segment of the American labor force. They make up the majority of the consumer market and play a significant role in business decisions.
So advertisers, companies, and businesses, therefore, need to learn about this big, burgeoning bracket thoroughly. If businesses fail to understand and capture the millennial market, they might compromise their place in the industry.
B2B Marketing to Millennials
Marketing experts say that millennials have a different purchasing behavior. Businesses then must reevaluate how they can market their products and services more effectively. Old marketing strategies and tactics supposedly won’t work on them anymore. However, a significant generational analysis from Ipsos MORI says that most information about millennials are “simplified, misinterpreted or just plain wrong, which means differences can get lost.” Therefore, the public adopts a caricature impression instead of a more accurate and exhaustive understanding of the sizeable millennial population.
B2B marketing and sales professionals now acknowledge millennials as participants in the B2B buying process. The challenge now is to engage this group of people using effective strategies and tactics while using an accurate picture of their attitudes, preferences and economic power.
Marketing and sales leaders must shun stereotypical judgments when formulating their approach to engage millennials.
Enter the pushed-aside method of marketing mail. Now that businesses prefer digital advertising, sending physical mail is not a viable option. They think sending physical mail is a waste of resources with minimal return on investment.
Snail Mail Perception
One common misconception about millennials is that they are digital addicts who purely prefer to do all things online—from communicating, shopping to banking. They allegedly prefer cashless and paperless transactions. And therefore they hate getting regular snail mail at home and in the office. However, recent studies show otherwise.
In a US Postal Office research about millennials, the report revealed that millennials do like receiving regular mail for its meaningful, personal touch. They receive less mail compared to baby boomers and Gen X, but they generally have positive feelings towards getting mail. The only friction around regular mail is the comparably laborious process—as opposed to sending and receiving email.
According to the research, millennials veritably like, as well as respond to, marketing mail.
Sixty-two percent of millennial respondents indicated that they visited stores within a month of receiving marketing snail mail—that is, compared to 55 percent of Gen X and 52 percent of baby boomers. More than six out of 10 millennials also said they appreciate receiving coupons for restaurants and other stores via mail.
Shopping for tickets and groceries, banking, and making restaurant and hotel reservations are everyday online transactions. Thus, procuring mail is now a rarity for a whole generation. In truth, for millennials, receiving mail is a more personalized, more thoughtful process than receiving online newsletters or emails.
Implications for Digital Marketing
Findings from the US Postal office research suggest that there is more to the millennial generation than what we already know or what is generally assumed about them. They are a more nuanced generation that values personalized and meaningful communication. Perhaps this is one consideration for businesses to recognize when looking into connecting with the millennial buyer’s persona. B2B marketers shouldn’t rule out marketing mail as a medium to reach their audience, because this can be an opportunity to effectively reach them with exclusive content relevant to them.
Marketing to the newest, biggest marketing population is no easy task, so due diligence is critical in defining the millennial market and understanding how to engage them. Adapting to millennial culture is one way for businesses to prove their agility and grasp of the consumer market. Businesses can reach out by sending quirky messages, exclusive offers, custom communications, tokens, and other incentives to the millennial market. Perhaps now is the time to bring back snail mail as a marketing technique because there is a market that appreciates, responds to, and enjoys it.