Brits have a wide variety of preferences to marketing formats, depending on their age and location, according to new research, which found that youngsters prefer to buy in-store rather than shop online.
The study, from Experian, found 15-24 year olds are highly receptive to direct mail, while the UK rural population prefer to engage face-to-face.
The results challenge existing thinking on consumer preferences and highlight the importance of avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.
Young more receptive to direct mail than their parents
Although direct mail is more welcomed by those aged over 65, the Experian analysis reveals that the second most likely group to engage with this channel are those aged between 15 and 24.
Their parents, meanwhile, who are often comfortably off, living in the suburbs and commonly aged between 46 and 65 are less likely to respond well to direct mail.
The findings call for marketers and retailers to look beyond common misconceptions about channel preferences, and use detailed insight to establish how a brand should communicate with its audience.
Nigel Wilson, Managing Director, Marketing Information Services, Experian comments: “Mosaic TrueTouch insight allows us to analyse how consumers prefer to be engaged by brands, providing marketers with the information to make smarter marketing decisions. At first glance it might be surprising that in the age of digital interaction, young people are so receptive to a traditional channel like direct mail but, in reality, advances in marketing technologies have increased receptiveness towards this channel. For example, some brands now incorporate 2D discount barcodes into material that can be scanned by compatible mobile phones. The generation aged between 46 and 64 are less likely to benefit from these advances and, as a result of being over-targeted with direct mail in the past, are more indifferent to the channel.”
Clicks Vs Bricks: Understanding the ‘I want it now’ generation
Experian’s insight also shows that while the 25-34 age group embraces the online channel, younger consumer groups, especially those living in terraced but diverse, multicultural inner city areas (a group called Terraced Melting Pot by Mosaic) and young well educated city dwellers (Liberal Opinions) are most likely to purchase goods and services in-store.
This demonstrates the need for marketers to use a cross channel marketing strategy to engage with consumers, who use a mixture of online and offline resources to make purchasing decisions.
Nigel Wilson adds: “Younger UK consumers will engage with offline and online channels not only to get the best price, but also get their hands on the products as quickly as possible after purchase. After researching items and price comparisons on the internet, they will then purchase from the high street rather than wait for delivery. This really emphasises the rise of the ‘I want it now generation’, who use a cross channel approach to optimise their purchasing experience.”
Face time adds value to older and rural group engagement
For older groups, if direct marketing is to have a positive effect on the bottom line, retailers need to integrate activities over this channel with face–to–face engagement.
The research highlights that the ‘Yesterday’s Captains’ Mosaic type is the most receptive to this form of communication.
This group encompasses retired professionals and managers on pensions from successful careers, living in attractive and spacious houses in well established suburbs of large provincial cities.
The ‘Active Retirement’ and ‘Rural Solitude’ Mosaic groups are also cited as being responsive to face-to-face engagement. Both these groups incorporate older and more isolated communities, who are likely to make purposeful visits to the high street, with a specific purchase in mind.
Nigel concludes: “The research suggests older groups tend to be far more comfortable making a purchase based on face-to-face engagement. Retailers should note that while these shoppers are further away from the high street, they will look to make their trip to town count.
“Making assumptions about customer preference for any particular age group is neither necessary nor sensible. There is a wealth of information available to marketers to understand what makes their customers tick. Detailed research like the TrueTouch analysis gives real-time insight to the way marketers can engage with different channels and the route their audience takes when making purchasing decisions. This insight is an essential part of every marketer’s toolkit that we hope brands and service providers will consider when planning future campaigns.”
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