Younger marketers’ use of e-mail, social and mobile channels is no surprise to anyone. But a channel use survey from Pitney Bowes did uncover another channel preference that was unexpected: Marketers under 35 are also more likely than other age groups to use direct mail in their marketing mix.
Overall, nearly six in 10 marketers incorporate multiple channels into their marketing efforts. But amid the under-35 crowd, that figure jumps to nearly eight in 10, compared with 56% of marketers between the ages of 35 and 54 and exactly half of marketers over 55.
When marketers don’t use multiple channels, just over half cite limited budgetary or manpower resources as a reason. Thirty-seven percent get sufficient results with one channel—but there’s a direct correlation between the age of the respondent and this answer. Only 16% of the under-35 marketers are satisfied with the results they obtain from a single channel, compared with 35% of those between the ages of 35 and 54 and 47% of those over 55.
What channels are marketers using? Email tops the list at 58%, followed by direct mail at 41%, social media at 34% and mobile marketing and quick response (QR) codes coming in at 12% and 7%, respectively. The Pitney Bowes survey also asked about “advertising,” which was not defined. Fifty-three percent of respondents cited this option.
Unsurprisingly, under-35 marketers are most likely to embrace e-mail, social media and mobile. At 66%, e-mail use among this cohort was only somewhat higher than the 57% indicated by the older marketers. But mobile marketing, at 28% among the young ‘uns, and QR codes, at 22%, were four to seven times as likely, respectively, to be used by younger marketers.
“A lot of the mobile marketing efforts have been focused around e-commerce companies,” says Neil Rader, VP and GM of SMB (small- and medium-sized businesses) at Pitney Bowes. “There, you would expect the younger generations to be more involved than someone 55 and older.”
In future surveys, Rader will attempt to clarify what “social media” means to respondents. His concern is the number cited might overstate the case. “My guess is [the 34% among all marketers] reflects people saying ‘I am on Facebook,’ or ‘I have a Facebook tag on my Web site.”
Young Marketers Embrace Direct Mail
Young marketers’ embrace of online channels shouldn’t come as a surprise, but here’s something that might: According to the Pitney Bowes survey, they are more likely (57%) to use direct mail than marketers in the 35-54 year-old cohort (40%) or in the 55+ age group (35%).
The high use of direct mail among the young likely reflects a greater preponderance of entrepreneurs in their early 30s, Joseph Piteo, a business development manager at Vision Critical (which conducted the survey for Pitney Bowes) wrote in an email.
“Some of the [digital] marketing channels would be quite expensive to implement for a small- and medium-[sized] business owner,” Piteo added, mentioning mobile marketing and QR codes.
As for the decline in direct mail use among older marketers, one possibility is that those who are not part of larger organizations, but instead are serving as individual consultants, may be more focused on electronic channels, guesses Rader.
Additional evidence of this is seen when marketers give their reasons for using various channels. Despite indicating more direct mail use, young marketers are less likely to be impressed with the channel’s effectiveness in terms of response rates or sales. They are also less likely to indicate they have comfort and knowledge of the channel. In fact, only 21% of marketers under 35 cite mail’s proven effectiveness as a motivation, compared to 42% of those over 55.
“I would think a large percentage [of young marketers] find it harder to track [results] using direct mail than they would using email or social media,” Rader says. “You can take a direct mail campaign and tie it to a specific phone number, but those who are technically proficient can do a lot more with an email. Did recipients open it? What links did they click on? There is a lot more data associated with some of the [other] channels.”
Older marketers, Rader suggests, have seen over time what response rates are, and more clearly understand its value through having used it.
Pitney Bowes based its findings off completed surveys from 500 marketers.