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.

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Generation Z Advertising Preferences

Generation Z covers those born in the mid to late 1990s into the mid-2010s. Like Millennials, Gen Z is technologically savant. They’re also meta aware; they know how digital advertising works. The good news? That’s not a bad thing for marketing teams. Adobe released a 2018 article as part of their State of Advertising series that takes a closer look at Gen Z. Their findings show that members of Generation Z are willing to give brands their information in exchange for a personalized experience. In other words, give this target audience what it wants and they’ll give you what you want, knowingly.

Thinking about pouring all your money into a Facebook campaign?

Hold up!

Unlike Millennials and Baby Boomers, Gen Z prefers iMessage, Snapchat, and Instagram to Facebook. Make sure you find out which digital channels your segment is using before you make a plan. In addition, consider using a mix of digital and direct mail advertising. Although they are digital natives, Generation Z responds to offline and online messaging. In fact, they view the two as part of a single total experience, so make sure your offline and online ads create a cohesive message.

Recap on Advertising Preferences by Generation

  • Baby Boomers: Advertise on Facebook and Google; direct mail is becoming a little passé for this audience
  • Millennials: Advertise through digital channels like Facebook and/or print; print ads are picking up traction with this group
  • Generation Z: Digital and print work, but make sure you create a cohesive experience when using both; consider social media hubs outside of Facebook

Since advertising preferences can still vary within any generation, it’s always a good idea to run a test to see what type of response you get before launching a full campaign.

Let Center City Print Help with Your Digital & Print Needs

Did you know Center City Print can help with your print and digital advertising needs? From website creation and t-shirt prints to direct mail marketing, we have everything you need to advertise to any generation or target audience. Tell us your ideas and we’ll take care of the rest; we can even take care of the design for you, so you can save time and focus on what matters in your day-to-day.