As eCommerce grows, so too does digital marketing and advertising. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that digital ad spending is anticipated to surpass traditional ad spending in the United States this year.
In the digital age, marketers have scrambled to establish brand preference with and gain the loyalty of the most digitally inclined generations – Millennials and Gen Zers. Per a study by Hitachi Consulting, 74% of retailers have angled their services towards younger consumers who still have a lifetime of purchases to make. But, with the average life expectancy in the U.S. trending towards 80 years, it would be shortsighted to alienate older consumers.
Baby boomers are roughly 75 million strong and control most of the country’s disposable income (estimated at 70% in 2015).
You might be thinking, “sure, that’s significant – but does digital marketing really appeal to older generations?”
It’s easy to associate tech savviness with youth. Millennials (for the most part) and Gen Zers have grown up in a world that’s adapted to the Internet – and they’re connected across various platforms like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and smartwatches.
Conversely (for perspective), boomers experienced the first black-and-white and color televisions. Can you imagine telling a young Gen Zer that the screens they’ve grown so accustomed to didn’t always exist?
But baby boomers aren’t as digitally inept as you’d think.
According to eMarketer, the majority of boomers (59%) make at least one digital (e.g. via computer, phone, or tablet) purchase each year. Although far less than Millennials (84.8%) and Gen X (77.5%), this still demonstrates digital marketing efforts can engage older consumers.
Considering the sheer size of this cohort and its buying power, retailers should continue to market to baby boomers via traditional and digital channels. That being said, it’s important to recognize how baby boomers are shopping online.
Baby boomers aren’t as mobile-friendly as Millennials and Gen Zers. Per an eMarketer survey, only 46% of participants between the ages of 55 and 65 used a mobile retail app to research potential purchases – and only 39% actually made a purchase on a mobile retail app.
The marketing shift to increase mobile efforts is understandable as smartphones and apps have reshaped our day-to-day lives. Especially considering people spend over three hours a day on their phone. However, studies have shown that the vast majority of baby boomers’ screen time is spent on the computer. Further, according to GfK’s 2018 FutureBuy report, almost 80% of boomers had shopped on a computer in the previous six months, but only 33% said they’d done so via their phone.
Older consumers prefer to browse, research, and consume content elsewhere. Blogs and online articles are a valuable source of information for baby boomers. From a social media standpoint, most baby boomers’ activity can be found on Facebook. According to a DMN3 study, over 80% of baby boomers are on Facebook. Further, over 50% of boomers will continue browsing products – whether on a company website or via search engine – after encountering an ad, testimonial, or review on social media.
Another key difference between older and younger generations is time spent browsing/researching purchases. Millennials are known for impulse purchases – but baby boomers are far less likely to make such swift decisions. Marketing that relies on impulse tactics is less suitable. Older individuals are more calculated and patient with respect to shopping around and assessing options – and they prefer to do it on the computer.
So, if older demographics are within your target customer base – make sure you’re keeping their preferences in mind. We can help you create a digital + print marketing strategy to engage with your audience. Reach out to us to learn more.
Since the early 2000s many marketers have placed all of their eggs in one basket – the digital one – leaving print out of the mix. And you would think that reaching Millennials in digital channels is the best strategy, but what if you could successfully use paper to drive them to those channels first? You can, and we know it works.
Millennial consumers have digital experiences that are dominated by a constant rotation of devices and screen time filled with commercial and editorial content, instant messages, alerts, pop-ups, and so on.
To cut through the noise, consider using direct mail to point Millennials to your social media channels, or send them compelling offers. In other words, use print to market around the digital fatigue.
The proof really is in the pudding. Customers are always shocked when we share this statistic from Summit Research: 82% of Millennials sort their mail to see what to keep – including advertising mail, coupons, and flyers – as opposed to only 76% of non-Millennials. Those are high numbers, proving that direct mail an important way to reach them.
With a tangible marketing piece, your engagement will go up because people pay more attention to offers in the mail versus digital pop-up ads that flash on the screen. Digital ads can be viewed as intrusive, but direct mail is not.
Millennials are often on a tight budget, so it makes sense that they are emerging as heavy coupon users. It’s important to get in front of them early in the research phase to make sure your brand is in the running. So don’t skip print in your quest to reach your audience. And, just because your customer placed an order with his or her mobile device, don’t assume that mobile communications drove the action!
For starters, a great way to go is to appeal to the values of Millennials and incorporate multimedia, like bar codes or link directly to an interactive experience. Being authentic is very important since Millennials find traditional advertising untrustworthy. Also, keep in mind that every customer is different, so give them multiple ways to respond to your offer for the best ROI.
If you understand this generation, then you know Millennials are compassionate and want to improve the world by helping to make an impact. Campaigns that donate a percentage of profits to a cause they can get behind, or that show corporate responsibility will leave a lasting impression on your target Millennial.
No doubt we have come full circle, and it is time to once again engage people in an environment mostly free of distractions and noise – at least the digital kind. If you need pointers crafting your next direct mail or omnichannel campaign, we are here to help!
There are many different reasons why consumers choose one brand over another, but the more you can do to appeal to them on an emotional level, the better your chances of gaining loyal customers.
Here are four tips to help you positively impact a customer’s buying journey as they travel through the funnel.
1. Personalize Your Message – I can’t encourage that enough. No matter if your audience is in-store or online, the expectations of a personalized experience is becoming higher and higher with every touchpoint.
People love to see their own name in print or on a product. Coca-Cola does a great job of creating an emotional connection by personalizing – depending on what part of country you are from – their soda bottles and cans with your name or even your favorite sports team. Consumers like to feel as if something was made especially for them, and this example hits it out of park.
2. Provide Excellent Customer Service – 83% of consumers prefer dealing with a living, breathing human being when it comes to customer service issues, even on digital channels, says research from Accenture. Never forget that your customer support team is the front line of your company, and they have a large role in driving customer loyalty. More than half of the people surveyed say they have switched to a competitive brand due to a poor customer experience.
3. Help Protect the Environment – Taking a stand on environmental issues can not only help the planet, but also in getting a leg up on the competition. Consumers have been taking notice when companies engage in corporate responsibility that results in better business practices. In fact, consumers admittedly pay more for products and services delivered by brands that are committed to positive change in our environment. It’s a win-win for all.
Operating under the RR Donnelly umbrella, Mount Vernon has the support of making wise business choices to help sustain our environment. Just like our parent company, we strive to continuously improve global Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) performance. Our shared policies include protecting employees and the environment, whether it be reducing the quantity of emissions, developing opportunities for recycling and pollution prevention, or using paper and other resources more efficiently. Every day, we reduce, reuse and recycle in our printing facility.
4. Loyalty Programs are a Must – There is no doubt that loyalty programs affect shopping habits, no matter what you sell. If you want to ensure customers keep coming back, a well-designed loyalty program is one of the best ways to do that. The most successful programs include a point system, like airline miles or hotel points, where customers earn and redeem points in a repetitive manner.
Also, 93% of consumers agree that they are happy with loyalty programs when communications are relevant. Collect good data through sign-up forms that allow you to get to know your customer. Use this data to reach out during life events – a wedding, a new baby, or a birthday – with targeted direct mail campaigns.