PAY ATTENTION TO ME: GIVING YOUNGER CONSUMERS THE ATTENTION THEY EXPECT BY KAREN KIMERER
here are several living generations of consumers, and each generation has its own preferences in terms of how they like to shop, how they spend money, and how they want to be marketed to. Younger consumers are always a topic of interest, because they represent the next generation of preferences as well as up-and-coming spending power. This article touches on the unique challenges associated with marketing to younger consumers. It also explores how direct mail can be used to engage these consumers and considers the vital role that inkjet technology plays. Establishing the Base A term like “younger” is vague and somewhat subjective, so it’s important to start by defining what is meant by younger consumers. In its annual consumer market research, Keypoint Intelligence identifies three primary age brackets: Ages 18-34: At this time, consumers within this age bracket are considered the youngest adult generation. The members of this group are primarily part of Generation Z or younger Millennials. Some of them are just
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starting their professional careers, but the older members of this group have been in the workforce for 10+ years. Ages 35-54: Members of this middle group are primarily older Millennials and most members of Generation X. These individuals have been part of the professional workforce for quite some time, and many are also caring for children in their households while also supporting their aging parents. Ages 55+: Members of this elder group are the oldest members of Generation X as well as Baby Boomers. Although some of these individuals have retired, still others remain a vital component of the workforce. They still have a tremendous amount of spending power and influence. As consumers, we may not notice the subtlety of marketing campaigns that use age segmentation as a tool to gain our attention. Whether we notice it or not, though, age-targeted marketing has been around for years. When used correctly, it can provide a much higher return on investment than grouping all consumers into a single audience. For example, suppose you create a campaign that encourages consumers to seek financial advice. Whereas younger consumers
might be just learning about financial independence and responsibility, more mature consumers may be in their peak earning years. People will have different financial needs based on their age and status in the workforce, so they should receive messaging and calls-to-action that reflect these differences. More Is Better! For many years, marketers have followed the rule that five to seven prospect touchpoints are required to convert a lead into a sale. With the constant barrage of marketing messages coming at us these days, though, some might expect consumers to prefer fewer touchpoints or contacts. As it turns out, however, recent research from Keypoint Intelligence reveals that the majority of consumers would like to be contacted by brands daily, weekly, or monthly. The key takeaway from the chart on the next page is that regardless of whether a relationship with a business exists, younger consumers want to be communicated with more frequently. This might seem like a dream come true for marketers, but implementing a customer-first marketing strategy can be costly and ineffective without the proper planning and tools. Here are three ways to attract and retain the attention and spend of younger consumers: 1. Test Your Appeal. There was a time when print technology worked best for volumes of long print runs, but this is no longer the case. The barriers to costeffective short runs continue to diminish with ongoing advancements in digital inkjet press technology. Marketers can now leverage digital print to grab the attention of a target audience with personalized and relevant direct mail. Although your company is undoubtedly concerned about the technology used to apply ink on paper, it’s important to remember that consumers don’t care about this. The things that capture their attention include the type of mail, its messaging, and a strong call-to-action. Savvy brand owners can and should experiment with oversized envelopes, standard direct mail, and postcards to determine which messages are the most effective. Information about response rates can be collected and analyzed to develop more relevant campaigns in the future.
Mailing Systems Technology July/August 2021