Study Debunks Marketing Myths About Millennials

Given that millennials love digital technology, does that mean they prefer digital marketing? Not according to a recent Target Marketing magazine article debunking several marketing myths about millennial customers, including the notion that digital advertising is the most effective way to reach those born between 1980 and 2000. Author Linda Antos, market development analyst at commercial printer Quad/Graphics, cites recent Quad/Graphics research to show that traditional print marketing–direct mail and catalogs–actually has greater power to move millennial buyers, a group forecast to spend $1.4 trillion annually by 2020. It’s certainly why AccuList USA continues to attract clients to its vetted mailing lists for consumer and business catalog marketing.

Millennials Don’t Ignore Print

The first myth Antos takes on is the belief that millennials ignore printed marketing. She cites an annual study by Quad/Graphics that tracks millennial shopping and media habits and preferences. It shows that 82% of millennials read direct mail and 54% look forward to receiving retail catalogs in the mail. Within 30 days of the survey, 49% reported taking print coupons to the store to shop and almost three in four used grocery retail inserts, higher than the average shopper.

Digital Engagement Isn’t Ad Engagement

Myth No. 2 involves assuming that millennials’ known addiction to daily digital interaction means they pay attention to digital advertising. The Quad/Graphics survey found that nearly half say they ignore e-mail and Internet ads, and 45% ignore mobile ads. By comparison, only 15% ignore direct mail ads. When it comes to millennial social networking, less than 10% say they made a purchase based on social media ads, and only 1% purchased from a social site.

Millennials Respond to Bargains

Another false generational stereotype is that millennials are less cost-conscious. In the Quad/Graphics millennials study, 49% said it was fun to see how much they could save with coupons, loyalty cards and discount offers, and 57% said they responded to “Buy One, Get One Free” offers in direct mail. More than half also responded to gift card and percent-off offers, and 52% said they switched from their regular brand to take advantage of a coupon offer.

Multichannel Efforts Pack More Punch

The surprise power of direct mail with millennials doesn’t diminish the need for digital marketing but does underscore the value of multichannel marketing. The Quad/Graphics study found, for example, that 37% of millennials did report accessing retailer websites to view a weekly ad, and 46% will read an e-mail if it is from their loyalty rewards program. Thus, combining direct mail with digital can leverage marketing power across channels, which is why AccuList USA recently developed its Digital2Direct product combining e-mail and Facebook targeting with direct mail.

For the complete article and more results of the Quad/Graphics research, read