Today’s consumer landscape includes distinct generations of buyers, each with its own set of values and spending habits. As each generation’s preferences on brand interaction come into focus, it’s necessary for marketers to re-evaluate the common “one-size-fits-all” tactics and develop new strategies for engaging each group. Discovering how each generation thinks, acts and purchases is the first step to finding new opportunities to engage with them.
Busting the Social Media Myth
Although social media has had such a large presence in many consumers’ lives, a recent Campaigner survey reveals that it’s actually not the best platform to interact with consumers in. Challenging current convention, less than a quarter (24 percent) of online shoppers cite social media as one of their preferred channels for brand interaction.
For those consumers who do enjoy using social media to engage with brands, the data reveals that not all channels are created equal when it comes to brand engagement. Over half (54 percent) of those surveyed prefer Facebook to follow brands. Pinterest and Instagram tie for second place in terms of brand-to-consumer interaction, with each garnering 18 percent.
Email Reigns Supreme
Despite the swift rise of social media platforms, the survey findings indicate that email ranks as the most preferred digital marketing platform for brand interaction (44 percent). Additionally, 75 percent of online shoppers are either somewhat or very likely to open email from brands.
However, when it comes to email, less is more. Forty-nine percent of online shoppers’ primary complaint about email marketing messages is that they receive too many of them. In fact, 29 percent prefer to hear from a brand less than once a month, while only 11 percent prefer to get brand messages more than once a week.
Breaking Through to Boomers
Traditionalists and baby boomers are more likely to engage with brands in physical stores than the average shopper. In fact, 73 percent of traditionalists and 67 percent of baby boomers say they prefer to interact with brands in-store, compared to 65 percent of the overall survey respondents.
For digital marketers targeting baby boomers and traditionalists, online deals that further attract foot traffic to stores may the best bet with this group. Additionally, traditionalists appreciate helpful tips and short reads more than the average online consumer, at 28 percent vs. 13 percent overall. Therefore, a strong content marketing strategy may be most impactful for this demographic.
The days of blanket marketing are over, with technology now enabling an even greater capacity for personalization in marketing. Each generation now expects to be engaged in the distinct manner that's relevant and preferable for them. If marketers don’t adapt their strategies to reflect cross-generational targeting, they're in danger of falling behind the competition and missing out on capitalizing on the purchasing power of multiple generations.
Seamas Egan is associate director, revenue operations, Campaigner, an email marketing services provider.