Stepping out of the Retail Demographic Comfort Zone
Last Updated on Friday 13th Mar 2015
The traditional paradigms of targeting are becoming increasingly irrelevant in today’s retail world. The Internet has facilitated a merger of demographic characteristics that will force retailers to adapt their targeting strategies to remain competitive. Older generations are increasingly utilising the Internet and adopting new technologies at a more rapid pace than in the past.
Stepping out of the Retail Demographic
How marketers need to step out of their retail comfort zone to realise better results from their targeting efforts in today’s world.
1. The Changing Nature of Information
Modern usage of the Internet has managed to entirely transform the way that information spreads. In the early days of retail, word-of-mouth was the only way for primitive societies to communicate. As time went on, people learned how to write ideas down on paper. Eventually, technologies like the printing press enabled books to be manufactured on a large scale. However, paper books still limited access to information because they took months to write, print, and ship. The Internet has eliminated the traditional limitations of informational exchange by making information free, ubiquitous, and instantaneous.
2. Traditional Importance of Elder Wisdom
The most important effect of instantaneous information is its impact on strategies for remaining competitive in the modern world. In traditional societies, older generations had often been more competitive because the passage of time had enabled them to accumulate more information. For this reason, traditional societies generally assigned more importance to older individuals. However, information is now widely available over the Internet. This has made more information available to adopters of Internet technology than the collective wisdom of hundreds of elders.
3. Adaptation of Older Generations
Younger generations initially had an advantage when the Internet first emerged. Many young people learned about the Internet through their friends in school. Older individuals discounted the importance of the Internet because their fundamental education had taught them the importance of books and traditional learning. However, it has become clear over the past decade that the Internet is a superior tool for the dissemination of information. As a result, older generations are increasingly realising the essential usefulness of the Internet for remaining competitive. Therefore, older demographics are now starting to understand the importance the Internet and social media for information-gathering activities.
4. Enhanced Access to Information
Older generations realise that the Internet offers significant advantages in terms of information access. Advanced articles written for scholars are available for free on the Internet. In former times, these articles may have cost hundreds of dollars. Individuals looking for basic information can conduct search engine queries to get answers almost immediately.
Retailers must adapt their targeting strategies to account for the growing importance of the Internet for accessing information. Older individuals now rarely receive daily newspapers. Additionally, studies have shown that the efficacy of direct mail advertising is declining. While traditional print media was often the best way of reaching older generations a decade ago, online advertising is now the most effective strategy for targeting older generations in today’s world.
5. Growing Need for Personalisation
Online webpages often tailor information for specific users. The personalisation of information can significantly increase the efficiency of communication by eliminating irrelevant messages. Since older generations now recognise this important fact, it is critical for retailers to adapt their targeting strategies accordingly. Older generations now expect advertisers to tailor their message to specific needs. General advertising rarely works in today’s world. It is now essential for marketers to personalise all of their marketing communications for both younger and older demographics.
The growing importance of personalisation has critical implications for retailers in today’s world. Traditional print media may not be as effective as it once was in the past. Marketers should increasingly try to utilise Internet marketing channels to reach older generations. Social media can be a great way to tailor messages to specific demographics through one-on-one communication. Retailers that target with personalised messages can significantly increase their return on investment.
6. Finances and Social Status
The democratisation of information has significantly decreased the importance of finances as a driver of social status in the modern world. Many people now perceive access to information as more powerful than ownership of resources. Individuals who find good information sources naturally become the most affluent members of society. In an information economy, ownership of tangible goods is only a derivative result of access to information. Therefore, individuals of all generations are increasingly perceiving access to information as more important than economic status.
Retailers targeting individuals on the basis of social status should limit their emphasis on finances as an indicator of prestige. Most affluent individuals now prefer to buy from marketers who present high-quality information. Some individuals might even be turned away by brands that present messages of prestige on the basis of finances. However, it is important to gradually transition from marketing on the basis of finances to marketing on the basis of information. Brands attempting to make this transition should gradually implement their new message over a long period of time.
9. Implications for Retailers
Retailers must be prepared to include new strategies in their marketing mixes to adapt to the information available in today’s world. At a minimum, retailers should start to use Internet marketing channels more than they did in the past. Retailers should also be participating in social media to ensure that they reach individuals of all ages where they are most likely to make a purchase.
It is important to remember that consumers are increasingly utilising the Internet to gather information. Consumers make a purchase because of information that has led them to believe that they need to purchase a solution. Since consumers use the Internet for information gathering, the brands that people are exposed on these channels are more likely to earn a sale. Marketers must adapt their Internet marketing strategies to reach consumers on both social media and the general Internet.
As computing technologies evolve, consumers will increasingly find ways to find information online. Older generations will be forced to use the Internet to remain competitive against younger generations in today’s world. Retail brands must devise and implement an effective online marketing strategy that accounts for the evolution of demographic needs. Retail Brands that manage to do this effectively can look forward to prosperity in the years ahead.
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