Every business has one. Some businesses aim for one but attract another. Most businesses have many. That’s right—it’s your target audience. Target audiences define what words we use, which benefits we promote, and how we reach them. While there are many ways to segment an audience, from career to family status, one quick way is by generation. People around the same age share similar world experiences that shape their ideas, values, and goals. Similarly, advertising preferences by generation vary for print and digital. When promoting your company, you need to be where your customers are looking, so it’s worth thinking about the preferred method of advertising by generation.
Here’s a 2020 breakdown for print and digital advertising preferences by generation, looking at Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Generation Z.
Baby Boomer Advertising Preferences
Born between 1946-1964, Baby Boomers range between 55 and 74 years young. At an estimated 73 million strong, the US Census Bureau reports they are the second largest age group in the United States after Millennials. Baby Boomers are big spenders on their households and families, with top priorities including pets and healthy food. In addition, almost 60% support their adult children.
While they’ve seen many firsts and changes within society, marketers drastically underestimate how adept this generation is with technology. As a result, many businesses stick to direct mail. However, emerging research suggests it’s time to rethink how we advertise to this segment of the population.
A DMN3 Institute case study of 1,000 Baby Boomers reveals the following:
- Contrary to popular belief, Baby Boomers spend little time engaging with direct mail
- A substantial 84.9% of respondents report they use Facebook
- Television, search, and email marketing are the most effective ways to reach them
- Radio ads aren’t that effective at moving Baby Boomers online to research a business
In other words, it might be time to change up your strategy if you’re not going after this generation online.
Millennial Advertising Preferences
Millennials are the children of Baby Boomers. Individuals in this segment were born between 1981-1996, placing them between 24 and 39 years of age today. Millennials grew up with computers and use social media to engage with their peers, as well as brands. However, they have a general distrust toward ads. In fact, 8 out of 10 Millennials won’t make a purchase without reading a review first.
While your first inclination might be a digital only strategy, you should reconsider forsaking your direct mail campaign. Whereas print marketing isn’t as effective with their parents, it’s making a comeback with Millennials. Forbes reports that 77% of Millennials pay attention to direct mail. In part, this is due to screen fatigue and an overabundance of email promotions, Facebook ads, and Google ads.
Millennials have been around digital advertising so long that business letters, door hangers, and postcards provide something tangible and different than their norm.
If you catch attention with a business postcard, however, expect a Millennial to cross-research you online before making a purchase.