Direct Mail Marketing for Different Generations

Direct mail marketing will always remain a valuable alternative, or addition, to online advertising. Research reveals almost three-quarters of consumers often feel overwhelmed by the number of on-screen ads when shopping online.

New research suggests consumers today are less tolerant of online ads that aren’t relevant to them. This is an ideal time for businesses to take advantage of direct mail marketing as an alternative to the “annoying” digital ads that 74% of us have experienced.

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In order to reap the greatest rewards, it’s important to target direct mail marketing campaigns at different generations, using various strategies to do this effectively. This means differentiating between the generations to use the styles that they prefer.

For example, younger people are more likely to value reviews highly, while older people prefer clarity and locality. Millennials respond well to personalisation.

Baby Boomers

Research shows that Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, like things to be clear and straightforward. When printing leaflets or cards, ensure the text is clear and easy to read. Research suggests 5% of people aged 40 have poor vision. This percentage grows every year with age, so make sure you bear that in mind.

While you might think putting white words on a black or coloured background grabs the attention, it actually makes it harder to read for people with poor eyesight. Use a clear font, such as Times New Roman. Include clear contact information and a map of your business location if you’re aiming to attract customers to a physical shop.

Studies have revealed 68% of Baby Boomers tend to favour businesses that are nearby, as they can check they’re a legitimate company. 71% prefer direct mail, rather than digital communication.

Gen X

Born between 1965 and 1980, Gen X prefers a combination of digital and printed communication, so try incorporating a digital element into your direct mailing campaign, such as a QR code. This could be because they transitioned from analogue to digital technology.

Market research reveals QR codes on direct mail items perform the best among Gen X, as 67% of recipients on average will check it out. Gen X also love a bargain, so include a free item or a deal in the campaign. The more offers you include, the better.

It is suggested the reason they like a deal is that many of them are caring for both kids and parents, with the older ones considering retirement themselves. Market research shows 76% of Gen X consider discounts the most effective aspect of direct mail.


Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, prefer tech-savvy marketing with a unique look, so personalise your direct mail with an eye-catching postcard that encourages them to visit your website right after receiving it.

This age group has enjoyed access to more information on the Internet than their predecessors, so they are interested in innovative direct mail.

Research by Rochester Institute of Technology found their response rate to direct mail improved by 135% when it was personalised. For example, a bold headline with the recipient’s name, followed by an intriguing message such as, “Take some time for yourself,” written on a larger-than-average postcard, is more likely to grab a millennial’s interest. Try unique shapes and styles for the card, instead of the traditional rectangle.

More millennials visit a website after receiving a personalised piece of direct mail than any other generation, so take advantage of this with a campaign to drive them to your site. Then, on your website, attract them to see follow-ups on social media, such as Instagram and Facebook, to keep your business in their mind.

Gen Z

Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z pays attention to reviews. They are likely to surf the web and give their own views on social media and review sites.

Research has found 82% of Gen Z consumers will buy from a brand if they have read positive reviews from other customers. Add a review on your postcard with a five-star graphic to help increase their trust and confidence in your business. Use consumer mailing lists to find residences with older teens within the relevant age range.

Learning the strategies that attract each generation and modifying your direct mail marketing campaigns to reflect the demographics will save time and money. It will help to ensure you reach your target audience at the right time, in the right way, boosting your chances of winning their custom with a message that was apparently sent with them in mind!