While the number of internet users is increasing by the day, marketers would be wise to not forget those who don’t use the internet either at not as often as others, and create integrated campaigns featuring offline and online marketing collateral to reach their target audience.

A recent report from The Pew Research Center shows the latest Demographics of internet users (chart below) and as I am apt to do, I am going “behind the numbers” to illustrate the fact that marketers and advertisers alike need to always integrate their messages across offline and online channels.
























Ok, let’s start with the younger crowd, those ages 18 to 29. Not surprisingly they’re leading the way when it comes to internet usage (95%). So naturally the conclusion a marketer and advertiser could make from this data is their campaigns need to be focused on online, right? I mean, the numbers don’t lie. 95% of people 18 to 29 use the internet and if I’m a marketer or advertiser and this is my target demographic, I am going to focus most, if not all of my attention and more importantly, budgets on online and in the digital space.

Well before you go put all your marketing budgetary eggs in the digital and online basket, you may want to consider this little nugget: A study conducted in 2010 by Experian found that the second most like audience to engage and be responsive to direct mail are those in 15 to 24 age bracket. (Yes I know it’s not the same age demo but it’s close enough and you know it, so spare me the “But Steve…” comments.) The audience most likely to engage via direct marketing is the 65+ demo, which stands to reason.

But the fact that such a young demo is so attentive to direct mail kind of adds fuel to my “integration is key” fire, doesn’t it?

Now conversely, let’s look at the 50+ demo… As you can see from the chart the 50 to 64 group “holds the line” so to speak in terms of internet usage compared to their younger brethren. But the number is lower and since people do get older (I know, breaking news right?) that number will naturally go down, yes? And in the 65+ group there is a marked decline, all the way down to 42% stating they use the internet. So naturally the conclusion a marketer and advertiser could make from this data PLUS the aforementioned affinity for direct mail, is their campaigns need to be focused on offline, right?

Two words: Baby Boomers

You know these folks, they’re the ones born between 1946 and 1964 which means the first of he Boomers turned 65 this year (better get them a direct mail piece right away). Seriously, look at this then tell me if you ONLY want to focus on offline strategies to this demographic:

  • 16.5 million baby boomers use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.
  • The fastest growing demographic of Facebook users is the boomer generation.
  • Facebook usage for boomers doubled in one year from 2009 to 2010.

Of course you can’t mention Baby Boomers without mentioning the fact that they spend… a lot. And they’re going to continue to spend.

From an online article 2011: The Year of the Baby Boomer on Aol.com:

“…spending by the 116 million U.S. consumers age 50 and older was $2.9 trillion last year — up a whopping 45 percent in the last 10 years. Meanwhile, the 182 million people younger than age 50 spent $3.3 trillion last year — up just six percent in the same decade,” according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data conducted by The Boomer Project for USA Today.

The key or bottom line or however you want to sum all this up is there will always… ALWAYS be a need for integration. A need, hell it should be a mandate in my oh-so-humble opinion, for marketers and advertisers to integrate offline and online strategies, to have them work in perfect harmony, each supporting the other.

Ok, what do you think about all this?

What are your thoughts on integration?

Have you created integrated campaigns and if so, how did they turn out?

Sources: pewinternet.org, consumerboomer.com, autos.aol.com , Why An Integrated Marketing Strategy Is Vital To Success