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 …”

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