Personalized Print Beats Online in 18-34 Demographic

Think you’re being more effective by switching from traditional to digital media? Especially in the 18–34-year-old demographic? Think again! A study from ICOM, a division of Epsilon Targeting, suggests that 1:1 printing may be more effective even among this coveted age group.

A study titled “Finding the Right Channel Combination: What Drives Channel Choice,” ICOM surveyed over 2500 U.S. and 2200 Canadian households. It found that consumers overwhelmingly preferred to learn about marketing offers via print media than online sources.

While we might expect this from older consumers, this survey targeted 18–34-year-olds. In every category surveyed (with the exception of travel), these younger, more tech-savvy consumers overwhelmingly preferred print over online media for marketing communications.

Why? One reason is trust. According to the survey, 36% of U.S. respondents across all age groups trust the mail more than email. In a previous edition of the survey, 19% said online information “can’t be trusted.” This time, the percentage increased to 25%.

Even personalization cannot overcome this mistrust. While email and online can be personalized, consumers often complain that online advertising is ubiquitous and inescapable. The use of cookies to track their behavior can also result in highly irrelevant suggestions (“Other people who bought Natural Remedies for Headaches also bought Dancing with the Stars Cardio Workout!”). The result is a high level of mistrust and annoyance.

By contrast, the intentional, highly targeted use of personalization in print is non-intrusive and the relevance is clear.

Type of Offer Prefer Mail Prefer Online
Personal care 62% 22%
Food products 66% 23%
Over-the-counter medication 53% 21%.
Insurance services 43% 21%
Financial services 44% 19%
Travel 34% 42%

Source: “Finding the Right Channel Combination: What Drives Channel Choice” (ICOM)

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Friday, February 14th, 2014 Going Postal: News You Need

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