Understanding the Digital Consumer

While the Internet is the most important digital channel to adult consumers and e-mail is the way they prefer receiving messages, direct marketers may find more refined insight into their preferences quite useful.

That’s the aim of “The 2010 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report” put out in February by Experian Marketing Services, a marketing services provider based in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Among the findings are:

  • Younger audiences, 18 to 34, prefer instant messaging, text messaging, mobile calls and social networking as their sources of entertainment and information.
  • Young consumers use all messaging channels, with text messaging being the most popular.
  • More than 60 percent of consumers 25 to 49 years old report that the Internet has changed the way they get information on products.
  • More mature consumers, 50 and older, like e-mail messages more than all other digital message options.
  • Those 50 and up opt for the Internet over cellular contact. On the Web, they tend to research financial and medical matters.
  • Consumers aged 25 to 49 spend their time online “managing their daily lives” by banking and reading news, for instance.
  • When seeking health, automotive and travel information, the Web is the first stop for most consumers.

Experian advises applying the learnings by:

  • Focusing on search engine optimization, comparison shopping sites and banner advertisements to help consumers perform research before they buy.
  • Realizing that the electronic media are powerful, but traditional media still play “a significant role, making it increasingly important for marketers to integrate their online and offline messaging and offers.”
  • Using advanced segmentation techniques.

“With this data, it’s easier for a marketer to build a multichannel plan that will more effectively reach their audience,” writes Ashley Johnston, vice president of marketing for Experian Marketing Services, in an e-mailed response for this article. “For example, a financial services company looking to reach an older demographic might focus efforts on reaching consumers with a mix of e-mail and online ads highlighting offers and branch locations while connecting with their younger audience with offers made through mobile messaging …”

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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