In our previous column, we reported on how advertisers and marketers can reach and engage with affluent shoppers (adults living in households with household incomes of $75,000 or more — the top 41% of American adults) using 68 different ways (40 potential advertising platforms and 28 potential word-of-mouth approaches). That column generated reader requests to provide some topline insights regarding how advertisers and marketers might communicate with these 99 million adults according to their generation.
These days it seems that virtually all marketers are enamored with the Millennials. Every day there’s another story about these upward achievers. But while the spotlight shines so brightly on this younger generation and the future of marketing, our recent survey findings indicate that upscale Boomers and Gen Xers should really be today’s key targets, since they currently have more spending power.
Exposure to advertising on many digital channels and social media is clearly growing and will continue to be a major factor in reaching Millennials and the older generations. However, traditional media is still alive and well among the Boomers and Gen Xers, with television ranking as the solid #1 choice to deliver marketing messages to them. In fact, at least six of the top ten platforms for delivering advertising messages to Gen Xers and Boomers are traditional in nature, including such media as magazines, radio, and direct mail.
Beyond those traditional platforms, the current word-of-mouth landscape offers a dizzying choice of communicating options with the affluent generations, ranging from Skype and Facebook to actually conversing in person or on the telephone. Above all, this increasingly fragmented messaging scenario calls for advertisers and marketers to stay in touch with the changing times and with the different generations' media and communication habits, or risk being left behind.
When advertisers and marketers focus on the other side of the marketing challenge — affluent consumers’ engagement with the ads they see or hear on the 40 advertising platforms that we measured — digital platforms clearly are a major force. Skype ranks #1 among all affluent consumers and Millennials in engagement, and other well-known digital platforms (Vine, Instagram, etc.) also attain top-ten rankings among all affluent consumers.
Notably, though, the only platforms for delivering ads that make the top-ten list for both consumer engagement and potential reach among all upscale consumers are magazines, either in their printed or in their digital format. Among affluent Millennials, the #2 ranked engagement platform is digital magazines, which rank #8 among affluent Boomers and #31 among affluent Gen Xers.
Affluents have many choices today regarding where and how they consume the content that interests them, and those choices differ materially by generation, as do the word-of-mouth approaches that they use. As stated earlier, marketers and advertisers need to stay in touch with consumers' evolving ways of accessing content and communicating with their friends and families by generation, or run the risk of being left behind.