You've Got Mail... In Your Mailbox?!

His Take: Write More Cards!

There’s one piece of advice I give to essentially anyone who will listen to me, “people love getting cards.” 

I know, it can sound mushy feely.  I know, you’re thinking “no one does that anymore.”  I know, it seems so old school and outdated.  But those three things are why it’s a small gesture that makes a huge impact.

When we take the time to handwrite a letter vs sending an email or text it speaks volumes. 

The research found that millennials spent more time with physical pieces, they felt a stronger emotional connection and remembered them for a longer period.

The only thing I’ve had to back this idea up was experience.  That recently changed.  The United State Postal Service (USPS) just released results from their research.  The results were unexpected.  Even the USPS says the results provided a “surprising study.”

I don’t want this to turn into a book report about the research, I just wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the fascinating discoveries.  That means I’m not going to review the facts about how many millennials read their mail, organize and more.  I’m going to focus on how getting mail effects the brains.

According to the white paper, the U.S. Postal Service partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business on a study to gauge responses to physical and digital advertising pieces. The researchers used brain imaging, biometrics (e.g., heart rate and respiration), eye tracking, and questionnaires to measure reactions.

The research found that millennials spent more time with physical pieces, they felt a stronger emotional connection and remembered them for a longer period.

The research also confirmed many things that people tend to believe about millennials.  Below are some of their findings and why that’s great for you and your card writing.

  • “Keep your messaging succinct and easy to read. Provide bite-size pieces of information.” – Translation: you don’t need to write a lengthy card to make an impact, keep it short and sweet and they’ll appreciate it!
  • “Be authentic. Millennials distrust traditional advertising, so avoid hard-sell language. Use a straightforward, transparent approach.” – Translation: don’t BS in your card, be honest.
  • “Millennials are compassionate and want to improve their world.“ – Translation: while they may exude a toughness that implies they have no interest in receiving a card, they probably will!

Okay, let’s talk about how you can use their research to promote your organization!

Her Take: Print is NOT dead

In such a technical age there are so many avenues of how you can send your organization’s message to your target personas. For example you have:

  • Social Media. I could leave this as a broad bullet point, but really social media alone has its own web of marketing channels. I mean think about it. You can now make a post, send a direct message or (InMail for LinkedIn users), utilize Facebook ads and promote your post or ads – similar to your Pay Per Click (PPC) channels, create your own snapchat filter, create story of videos on not one, but now 3 social platforms. And so much more…
  • Email campaigns. A lot of organizations have taken advantage of marketing automation software. This tool makes everything you need and do for email campaigns to be a breeze!
  • Text Message (SMS). People love their phones, and they love to text. There are now free apps you can download to send marketing materials via text message.
  • Pay Per Click Ads (PPC). This feature literally lets you create an ad and you only pay each time your link is clicked on.

My point is, these four bullets are only just a few digital marketing channels you have available today. But there is one thing to consider; it’s likely your competitors are utilizing these channels as well. So you not only need to have a more appealing message, but now you need to start thinking out of the box.

One of the best lessons I’ve learning in my marketing career is that you want to try and connect with your target personas in every sense possible. THIS is where print is huge. Think about it – you are more likely to pay attention and remember something if it connects with you in more than one way. So let’s break this down. We have 5 senses, right? Sight, touch, hear, smell, and taste. For smell and taste, unless you are running a bakery or restaurant, I’m not going to go in much detail. But the others are very important.

  • For sight you have everything digital – websites, ads, social media, email, billboards, etc. Basically everything we just discussed that your competitors are likely doing as well. Except you do have the additional option to use video. YouTube is another great marketing channel and gives you a fresh take on linking with your persona on their sense of sight.
  • For hearing – you now have podcasts. Podcasts are the new blog.  Can you imagine? Your buyer is about to board a flight. He doesn’t have to purchase their crappy in-flight Wi-Fi to read up on your company’s blog, she/he can now download a podcast and listen to it, while also avoiding the person in the middle seat that is trying to tell them their life story. Boom! You’ve now conquered the sense of hearing, and now connected with them on another level.
  • Lastly, to bring this full circle, you have touch – and to piggyback on my scenario for hearing, your buyer once again not only doesn’t have to purchase the Wi-FI to read up on your organization, but rather has IN HAND, a piece of physical content. Whether it be a pamphlet, a note card, or a magazine. You have now offered this person another way to absorb your messaging. Be sure to start capturing their mailing addresses with your inbound efforts. Do not make these print options something they can acquire on a shelf, rather send it to them in the mail. And talk about the ease of kick starting a referral program. How easy would it be for them to offer a friend that piece of content and suggest checking your organization out?

Marketing isn’t a stale concept. It doesn’t stay the same, tactics may work for one industry that doesn’t for another, and there is always the next big thing to stay on top of, but you have to stay agile. Sometimes, you may not need to focus on what the next big thing is to come in the digital world, but maybe “take it back” and create a refreshed idea on an old tactic – such as print- to broaden your messaging.

For a copy of the research white paper, visit here.