This article originally appeared in the January/February, 2018 issue
of Mailing Systems Technology.

Born after 1995, Generation Z will account for about 40% of all consumers by 2020. The challenge? A Gen-Zer’s attention is difficult to obtain as an advertiser. They're known for using up to five devices at the same time (phone, tablet, computer, TV, and other internet-connected devices, such as a car or wearable gadgets like a smart watch). Considering most of them have never been advertised to through their physical mailboxes, this provides a great opportunity to the print industry. A physical piece of marketing will be a real attention grabber in their world. To take full advantage of this opportunity, we must understand their motives and behavior.

The design of the mailing piece is crucial. When Gen-Zers interacts with a marketing piece, it is because of one principal motivator. They are looking at ways that a product or service will improve the quality of their life. Your marketing piece’s main focus should answer their first question immediately: "What is in it for me?” Designing the piece around the answer to this question is the key to success with Generation Z in mind.

Gen-Zers are digital natives. They were born into a world where all the information they need is just a few clicks away. If a mailing piece is trying to be something that it’s not, a Gen-Zer will perceive it right away. Pretending to provide value will get a brand nowhere. A Gen-Zer desires to feel identified and engaged with a company. Gen-Zers want to form a relationship with the brands that they consume. Think about approaching your mailing pieces not as a sales pitch, but more like a friendly conversation.

With so much information available to them, your goal as a marketer is to stand out from such a crowded space. The key here is to be present in several channels, so that your message becomes memorable. Giving them a mailing piece is effective, but imagine the power of the same marketing message when it delivers online simultaneously. Being present in both offline and online channels increases impressions dramatically.

We hear the phrase “direct mail doesn't work anymore" over and over again. The reality is that it has always worked, and it will continue to. It may perhaps work even better with this new generation who was never bombarded by it like the previous generations were when it was the only method used for marketing. Yet, one thing has changed, and that's the way that people respond to direct mail marketing. Gen-Zers usually do research online before purchasing a product. The first thing they'll do is visit a brand's website, followed by social media and review sites.

Remember: Gen-Zers are usually dividing their attention between five screens at the time. Even if they're interested in what they see on your website, it's likely they will exit the site without taking action. Studies show that only two percent of first-time visitors will convert. Your job as a marketer is to make sure that you're bringing them back. This might sound difficult, but it's achievable with the use of retargeting. Reminding them of their interest by being present in their online experience is the best way to close a sale. Retargeting allows a brand to be present, not only in the Google Display Network but also on social media newsfeeds.

Direct mail marketing combined with the power of online marketing is beyond persuasive for Gen-Zers. Creating an effective marketing campaign for your clients targeting Gen Z doesn't have to be complicated. Focus on their behavior, personalities, and online experience, and you're on your way to a high-converting marketing campaign.

Brad Kugler is CEO, DirectMail2.0, a fully integrated marketing solution for the clients of printers/mailers that combines the proven success of direct mail with in-demand features like online advertising and automated campaign tracking. You can schedule a free demo to see how a partnership with DirectMail2.0 can boost revenue and improve your clients’ response and ROI. Visit or call 800.956.4129 for more information.