Think Young Adults Prefer Online to Traditional for Marketing? Think Again.

Young Adults Prefer Offline Marketing Offers

North American consumers in the 18-34 year-old demographic prefer to learn about marketing offers via postal mail and newspapers rather than online sources such as social media platforms, according to survey research from ICOM, a division of Epsilon Targeting.

In addition, the ICOM research shows that preferential attitudes about the trustworthiness of mail strengthened for consumer respondents in all age groups from 2008 to 2010.

The 2010 study of 2,569 U.S. households and 2,209 Canadian households focused on consumer preferences in regard to the ever-expanding array of communications channels for the delivery of marketing information, offers and promotions. Responses came from consumers ranging in age from 18 to 55 and above.

Some key results:

Young adults say they prefer direct mail and newspaper advertising over online marketing in every instance except travel.
The trust pendulum is swinging in the direction of postal mail for respondents in all age brackets.
Other key findings from ICOM’s survey about channel preferences include the following:

45% of U.S. men and 35% of Canadian men do not have any social media accounts; 36% of U.S. women and 31% of Canadian women do not have any social media accounts.
25% of respondents said they get more postal mail versus a year ago; 72% U.S. and 66% Canadian said they get more email versus a year ago.
Women are more likely than men to prefer addressed or unaddressed mail for many product categories, and men are more likely to prefer the Internet or email as a mode of receiving marketing information.
“Overall, our research confirms the proliferation of channel choices but shows that a unique combination or balance of favored channels needs to be identified, and that combination likely includes direct mail and other offline options, despite the notion by some that offline is no longer effective,” and that “marketers targeting coveted 18-34 year olds who are tempted to invest solely in social media could be missing a significant portion of their audience,” said ICOM’s Vice President Warren Storey.

Sources: Response Magazine, Young Adults Might Prefer Offline Marketing, Research Suggests. August 25, 2010, and Epsilon news release, Young Adults Strongly Prefer Offline to Online Sources for Marketing Offers, Research Reveals, August 24, 2010.

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