Catalogs, an Effective Tool to Engage Millennials

Accounting for 25% of the population in the US, the millennial generation (also known as generation Y) entered into the digital world in the early 80’s to 2000’s.  They have exceeded the baby boomers in number and are now the largest generation in the American work force, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Frequently defined as an “always on, always connected” generation or an “entitled generation,” millennials are known as a group that desires instant gratification and they are studied (and scrutinized) more than any other generation to date.

Many would argue that the millennials generation is challenging the traditional framework of work-life balance. Their approach to work and life is more diverse, foregoing the conventional path of education and career first, followed by marriage and children second. The truth is, millennials are receiving a bad rap. Every generation has their own values, attitudes, and traditions that shape and mold them.

Millennials have grown up surrounded by a digital world of electronic media and are embracing digital technology. 90% of millennials have at least one social media profile and of that group, 52% have five or more profiles. With this heavy social media presence, millennials are desensitized to the constant barrage of emails, online advertisements, and digital messages.  In fact, less than 1 in 10 millennials completed a sales transaction based on social media activity. They are endlessly thumbing through sites on their smartphones to connect with friends, and engaging in thought-provoking discussions, with less interest in the relentless shower of digital marketing campaigns.

According to research by Youbrand in 2015, millennials have an estimated global spending power of $2.45 trillion. But if Generation Y is overlooking and becoming desensitized by the constant stream of online advertisements, how can you tap into this trillion dollar market?

One key to successful and sustainable millennials marketing is through direct mail and the delivery of catalogs. 75% of millennials cite that catalogs are a beneficial tool for obtaining information on products of interest, and over 92% of millennials find that they use catalogs to review products, according to an InfoTrends benchmark study entitled Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A Strategy for Growth. Your catalog is an effective tool to engage millennials, as 90% prefer print over email.

2018 Catalog Campaign Strategies that Can Work for You!

Avoid selling

You may be thinking, “But isn’t that the point of marketing to millennials? To sell?” While the short answer is yes, millennials do not want to be sold to. They spend the bulk of their time on the internet, and with that is an endless stream of ads trying to sell products to them and at them! Millennials are interested in buying, but want catalogs to provide value. Focus on the quality of paper used in the catalog, as 30% of millennials report that high-quality print and paper will get their attention. Catalogs certainly drive sales, with more than 65% of millennials having made a purchase in the last three months based on a catalog delivered to their mailbox.

Combine traditional with digital

Though millennials have grown tired of online advertisements, however they still desire the flexibility that digital technology offers. Incorporate a digital experience to create a seamless transaction by making information available via print, mobile, and traditional online. More than 47% of millennials made an in-store purchase based on a catalog they received in the mail and 82% cite print as part of their purchasing journey. Print continues to impact millennials in a big way.

Spotlight your company

The internet can be cold and impersonal with pop up ads and sponsored advertisements, but the catalog medium provides you the opportunity to speak to millennials without the buzz of background noise. Millennials want to know why they should buy from you and with nearly 63% of millennials reading catalogs they receive.

Share your story

Does your company donate to a cause? Offer recycled print? Or maybe your company’s success is passed down from generation to generation, rich with history. After all, 80% of millennials say they want brands to entertain them and your catalog can accomplish through story telling.

The millennials generation, so deeply connected to digital technology, still craves the simplicity and authenticity that a catalog can bring to the table.  Incorporate these marketing techniques for a successful 2018.

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.