When it comes to choosing marketing channels, marketers tend to make many assumptions: Millennials always want digital, the Silent Generation wants print. But the reality is often far different. 

As Bay Area marketers, if we don’t pay attention to how consumers truly want to engage with us, we can turn them off or leave them out in the cold.

“We make a lot of assumptions, especially about buyers,” says Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing, CMO Council, speaking in a Target Marketing webinar, “Channels of Choice.” 

“It’s easy to make big, bold statements: Millennials are all digital. They don’t know how to talk to each other. They are always on their phones. But consumers are funny, and generations often act outside our expectations.”

For example, Miller notes, it’s a mistake to think that the Silent Generation is just sitting at home not doing much. 

“They are out and about engaging in living their lives,” she says. “Likewise, for every member of the Silent Generation we think doesn’t want to engage digitally, we get someone who is [highly tech savvy]. In the same way, we will find a Millennial who wants their bank statement mailed to them because they think it’s more trusted and secure. 

“For every assumption we make, there is a massive group of consumers that will buck it.” 

The best way to avoid the errors of assumption, she says, is to ask consumers what they actually want. So the CMO Council conducted a global survey of 2,000 consumers in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and England. 

The questions involved bi-directional communication between the customer and buyer (direct mail, email and interactive social media, as opposed to single directional channels like magazine advertising or billboards). 

Here’s what they found: 

  • Eighty-five percent want a mix of digital and traditional.
  • Ten percent want digital only.
  • Five percent want physical only.

As it turns out, consumers want a blend of digital and traditional communications. They like the variety. 

Surprisingly, this was the case across all generations. The range of those wanting a blend of digital and traditional communications ranged only from 82 percent (Silent Generation) to 88 percent (Gen Z). Not a big difference. The desire for a mix of digital and traditional communications is consistent across the board.

“You cannot get away with one-way-only communications strategy anymore,” concludes Miller. “Consumers expect—not just want, like or desire but expect—a blend of physical and digital channels be offered to them as part of their customer experience.”

The takeaway? When it comes to the channels of communication, give consumers a choice. If you want happy customers, you will appeal to them better with a mix of both digital and print marketing. 

So put your Bay Area creative marketing services to work and create both digital and print marketing campaigns. You can utilize some high-quality printing services and direct mail marketing to distribute paper mailers while simultaneously targeting online customers with emails and digital ads. This two-pronged approach not only will reach more potential buyers but win over more of them as well.

Channel selection matters, just not in the way we usually think. Don’t pigeon-hole your consumers. By using all of the right channels and not only one per demographic, you can reach even your outliers and appeal to a broader audience. 

The result: Your audience will feel that you genuinely understand them and your message will resonate with them more.

If you need creative marketing services to help you use the right marketing channels to reach your desired audience, we are here to assist you. 

Send us a message about what you need—we’ll be in touch about how we can meet your marketing needs.

GMB: Often, we see marketers make the mistake of assuming certain demographics within their audience can be reached through only one channel. However, recent research shows this isn’t true, and the majority of consumers across all ages prefer communication through multiple channels.

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