October 9, 2018

Direct Marketing Tips for Age Group and Lifestyle

In a previous blog post, we talked about the relationship between a person’s age and their mail consumption, based on the study “The Life Stages of Mail” by Royal Mail MarketReach. The result shows clearly how every age group reacts to direct marketing, ranging from an ask for more information, to purchasing or other action with brands.

In this article, we review how marketing activity is based on the lifestyle of each age group.

Fledgelings – Adults living in the home of their patents – 3 Million in the UK – 52% age 18-24

It’s easy to assume that as digital natives engrossed in social activities, that Fledglings don’t engage with mail. Fledgelings generally have far fewer responsibilities than other age groups. They have the need for social interaction and digital communication tools – particularly smartphones – which are central to their lives. Not surprisingly, Fledglings spend more time online than all other media combined, however this does create an untapped opportunity for non-digital cut-through.

Some useful tips to incorporate Direct Marketing in a campaign for Fledgelings:

  • Make it clear that this item is for them, not their parents.
  • Personalised Mail and age-appropriate style with correct tone of voice lead to a higher open rate.
  • Clear call to action, help them use it by guiding them through any next steps.
  • Encourage sharing on social media and make it easy to respond to by all channels.

Sharers – Adults living in shared accommodation with other adults – 1.9 Million in the UK – 51% age 18-24

Like Fledglings, Sharers report receiving low levels of addressed mail, however, they are more likely to find mail memorable and to trust printed material more than the Internet.

Sharers are the heaviest users of unaddressed mail with 8.2% of them saying they bought or ordered something as a result of receiving unaddressed mail, 9% tried a new product and 19.8% used a voucher or coupon delivered by this method.

Tips for a Direct Marketing Campaign for Sharers:

  • Create personalised and visual mail that stands out. Reflect the life they want to live.
  • Creative, well-designed mail that matches these characteristics is more likely to cut through and build brand equity. Mail that offers them value, such as coupons for new products or experiences, is likely to be well-received.
  • Consider door drops. As young adults, Sharers are only beginning to show up on databases. But they respond to unaddressed mail, which you can use effectively for multi-person households and, if they have a response mechanism, to build profiles.

Couples – with no children – 6.4 Million in the UK – 36% age 18-34 – 47% age 35-54

Couples – like Sharers – are more likely than the sample to say they don’t know who takes responsibility for managing the mail. 22% of them visited a store as a result of receiving addressed mail, 26% bought or ordered something and 16% requested more information online.

Tips on Direct Marketing Campaigns for Couples:

  • Couples engage with their home and consider new products and services, unaddressed mail can have a significant impact.
  • Mail may take a shorter journey around a couple’s home. Mail imagery needs to be strong to demand attention and digital response mechanisms should be included.
  • Be clear about what the mail is for and what you want Couples to do with it.
  • Door drops by local businesses or localised operations of larger companies are likely to resonate.

Young Families – One or more children – 8.5 Million in the UK– 69% age 25-44

It’s no surprise that Young Families embrace mail. They begin to receive more – they start new relationships with companies, retailers, health and local community organisations – and engage with it more. More than 30% of them bought or ordered something because of receiving addressed Direct Mail, over 23% are more likely to have referred to mail whilst online and 24% are more likely to go online to make an enquiry/request for more information as a result of receiving Mail.

Tips on Direct Marketing Campaigns for Young Families:

  • As parents, they want to do the best for their children. They are especially focused on areas like health, nutrition, early years development, as well as finding value for money.
  • Young Families are often busy. Mail that simply and clearly expresses benefits and response mechanisms is likely to be well-regarded.
  • They are practical and focused on their parental roles, so content is likely to be more important than design. Clear digital response mechanisms make it easy for them.
  • Vouchers are appreciated because Young Families are often tight for money and allow immediate redemption.

Older Families – At least one child in secondary school living at home – 3.7 Million in the UK – 63% 35-54

In most areas, Older Families are above average in their actions and response to mail. They buy or order as a result of it, go to stores because of it, file it, refer to it, follow up any queries using phone or Internet, and use the vouchers it provides.

Tips on Direct Marketing Campaigns for Older Families:

  • Mail is more “communal” and often shared or displayed to be actioned or discussed by more than one family member. Content and design should recognise this.
  • Older Families may be financially hard-pressed. Value messages and offers are likely to resonate with this group.
  • Mail is used to evaluate – and evangelise – brands. Designed for parents is also seen and noticed by their children.
  • It informs and drives digital response and action. Older Families over-index on digital response channels, so mail that highlights easy-to-use digital response mechanisms are likely to be considered.

Empty Nesters – No longer have children living at home – 10 Million in the UK – 67% 55-74

Empty Nesters are more likely than previous groups to watch broadcast TV, read newspapers, and spend significantly on DIY. Without the costs and responsibilities of dependent children and relatively unencumbered with age-related health limitations, they have the money, time and energy to reward themselves.

Tips for Direct Marketing Campaigns to Empty Nesters:

  • They like longer form copy and take the time to read it – often more than once.
  • Address mail in a manner that is personal and respectful and doesn’t condescend.
  • Empty Nesters prefer to receive Mail as individuals where it empowers their ability to make choices.
  • Their children may not live at home, but Empty Nesters may feel a sense of responsibility for other adults, including relatives from the previous generation.

Older Retirees – Singles or couples with pensions or investment as an income – 6 Million in the UK

Four out of five Older Retirees agree that post is part of their daily routine, and they are more likely to say that they open mail immediately. They have the highest propensity to buy or order something in response to mail (38%) so, the opportunity to use Direct Mail to increase the campaign impact is high.

Tips for Direct Marketing Campaign to Older Retirees:

  • They appreciate a longer copy – and have the time to read it – and the more traditional rules of grammar.
  • Older Retirees tends to live off a fixed income, so mail that offers value and/or discounts will resonate.
  • Many Older Retirees may live alone, either through bereavement or the ill-health of their partner. It is important to be sensitive to this possibility.
  • Older Retirees are more likely to respond by post, but not exclusively so they use all available channels.


Every group has their own characteristics and responds differently to every type of direct mail and campaign. The common factors for success in a direct mail campaign relate to accurate data processing. It will allow you to reduce cost and increase ROI. A targeted campaign, both to groups and with core messages including personalised content and image will increase your ROI.

To contact the Romax Team for advice on your next Direct Marketing campaign.

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