Young, hip and driven, today’s trendsetting Millennials would never dream of comparing themselves to the ‘retirement generation’, those Baby Boomers aged 55 years and up. But, backed by big data metrics, astute marketers have found the link between two seemingly diverse markets. Using algorithms to produce competitive marketing strategies they have found a new language to speak to and convert both sets of demographics at the same time, slicing budgets in half and saving brand conversion time.
How are marketers bridging the generational gap between Senior Joe and younger Joe Junior? “They understand the individual motivations,” says Chanel MacKay, Media Director at Atmosphere Orange. “Using data for programmatic profiling, fine-grain metrics are telling us that they display similar habits and share common values. But you have to use accurate metrics if you want your online advertising campaigns to work,” counters MacKay. “This is a large market we are talking about here and using programmatic market analysis you need a well-strategised system that drills down to the hard facts when working out a campaign that targets their particular needs. Using data-driven metrics, brands are now designing campaigns for both demographics which offer a single brand experience, one that embraces both their similarities and their differences.”
What are some of their similarities? Traditionally Boomers claimed the highest level of disposable income with 4 out of 5 retailers attributing 50% of sales to this age group. Tough economies however, have seen them tightening their purse strings and searching online for bargains, sales and coupons. This has coincided with the growth in the size of Millennial numbers, with the Millennial market overtaking Boomers in size and potential spending power.
Both Millennials and Baby Boomers want quality of lifestyle, which includes conscientious behaviours, and a focus on health. Being community driven, they are always switched on and engaged with researching, purchasing, donating, volunteering, or supporting environmentally friendly or non-profit organisations. As much as 70% of Millennials will look at a firm’s commitment to community as a factor in their employment decision. And they care just as much about their own families, 63% of Millennials will consider, or already do consider themselves responsible for caring for an elderly parent.
With mom and dad connecting more online, Millennials will be feeling the competition when it comes to device sharing and usage in the home as parents highjack time for themselves online. And both demographics display similar habits in that journey. Recent research by both the Pew Research Center and Forrester Research reveals Millennials spend 59% of their time on smartphones, 35% on tablets and 70% on laptops, often multi-tasking over multiple screens while either on the go or at home watching TV. Baby boomers – that’s parents and young grandparents – display similar habits, MediaCom statistics see 79% of Baby Boomers using the internet with 65% using Facebook and more than half engaged with their community through video or supporting causes online, booking travel or searching for health conscious options to improve their lifestyle.
As part of their journey online both Millennials (82%) and Boomers (52%) rely on word of mouth marketing. They are listening socially to their friends and family when choosing a product. “Recessions and the economic downturn have distressed the Boomer buyer and like Millennials they need to make planned purchases. They are online with their respective communities searching and listening for recommendations, reviews and the best deals,” says MacKay, “ This makes digital strategies that use both traditional marketing techniques and native, multi-screen tactics able to grow trust over both generations.
“It’s a new language for brands,” says MacKay. “Blatant selling strategies aren’t going to work for this focus group. There is a migration towards native advertising from both Millennials and Boomers, they want to feel connected, they want authenticity, they want to be inspired by people and make a social impact. And they want to be informed through story.
“But both are easily distracted by other things online. You’ve got ten seconds to catch their attention,” says MacKay. “Then you need to search, find and retarget them, at the same time working with intuitive creative to keep it inspiring and with the right message formats to meet them on the right channel and platform. While Twitter has successful brand engagement for Millennials, Boomers won’t follow a brand via social media.”
“By targeting both 20-somethings and Boomers who have been around the block, it creates new opportunity for creative storytelling and optimisation of the same message across all channels that can include 2nd screen syncing. As long as you are establishing trust and offering value and making it easy for the customer to communicate with you, consumers both young and old will not only transact, but then use word of mouth to refer your brand on,” says MacKay.
More than half of the world’s population: three billion now use the web regularly and two-thirds of those are from the developing world who, thanks to smartphones have doubled their internet use over the last five years. All of this poses significant challenges for advertisers and marketers.
The Internet economy will reach $4 trillion in the G-20 nations this year. If it were a national economy, it would be in the top five, behind only the United States, China, Japan, India and ahead of Germany. In the United Kingdom, A Barclays survey found that UK tech companies predict growth of 11% over the year – more than four times faster than the UK’s GDP forecast for 2015 (2.6%). And in South Africa, as the most technologically advanced country in Africa, that growth is as fast, if not faster.
“Instead of just a few dozen or hundred reliable magazines and newspapers, television and radio stations, advertisers are now chasing dozens of social media outlets, millions of blogs and online publications, podcasts and streaming web TV. It’s never been harder to know where to place ads or market,” says Chanel MacKay, new Media Director at Cape Town’s digital agency Atmosphere Orange.
“Plus today’s customer is highly influenced by social media and word-of-mouth. They know which brands they like and where to find them. It is up to the brand to follow and understand their growth in the online journey in order to better interact with them,” says MacKay.
“Programmatic media buying is where mobile was three years ago,” says MacKay, who joined Atmosphere Orange, wooed over by its high tech human resources and knowledge of this rapidly developing market following an eight year career development at competitive agency 25AM. “People know it works, they know they must be putting budget aside and incorporating it, they know it is growing, but they don’t understand how to use the technology to their best advantage.”
With her experience and training on the psychology of a buyer, MacKay believes customers are flexible on how they engage with brands. “In order to better interact with the customer, marketers must embrace the technology, they must understand the best ways to capitalise on these industry opportunities. Programmatic is cheap, it’s efficient and enables brands to make decisions for optimisation on the fly. Backed by accurate data, we understand the individual customer. We have the targeting technology. It is critical that we educate and inform our clients.”
“The quicker the industry embraces it, the quicker agencies will win and the quicker brand budget will be retained in-house. We are doing our best to grow that understanding in the market. Unfortunately there are a lot of people are out there insisting they are specialists in programmatic but are merely on the bidding side, they have no idea of how to implement strategies that work for mobile reach and best brand fit.”
With seven certificates and two Legendary Awards from ABSA for excellent service and regional superstar performance, MacKay has proven success in understanding and interpreting information as it relates to each unique brand objective. “We focus on that customer journey. We know the gaps. We know that people online are like fish, they have a five second attention span. We know where else we are going to capture them. It is part of the journey of getting interaction with the brand; to do that you need the best technologies, visualisation and data. Customers trust our programmatic services because we have the answers; we are able to provide that 360 degree solution.”
Confident of Atmosphere Orange’s technological position in the marketplace, and backed by a passion for the industry, MacKay will oversee what she calls a dynamic process that will take South African brands front and centre on the digital platform. “What is required now is that we focus on helping the market develop its understanding of how data can be used and interpreted for visual communication strategies across all the digital platforms available to the marketer, based on strategies that are clear and work efficiently. Programmatic is both an art and a science. One can’t just analyse data and say there you go, we need to put value, reasoning and creative representation behind the conversations we are sending out to an information based economy and then be responsive towards how the campaign is performing, marrying new data to the key performance indicators for an even bigger picture.”
MacKay, known in the industry for developing brand strategies that speak directly to consumer behaviours and who has seen nomination for the Bookmarks Best Digital Planning Award two years in a row, has expansive ideas for this digital agency’s growth. “Atmosphere Orange’s programmatic talent is what makes us massive beyond reproach, I believe we just haven’t been screaming loudly enough about the expertise we have in programmatic. We understand the intricacies of digital advertising technologies better than most. We pride ourselves on using more tech features that allow us to always exceed the client’s key performance indicator’s (KPI’s); they see product growth. We plan to keep consistently exceeding those KPIs, bench marketing performance, implementing continual optimisation while maintaining a reputation for service excellence.”
Watch an interview with Chanel MacKay here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OhcJWtgR38
A year or two ago, South African brand managers would have given you a resounding ‘uh?’ if you had mentioned programmatic media buying (PMB) to them.
Fast forward to current times and you are witnessing the rapid transformation taking place in how today’s brand manages are purchasing advertising media, defining their target audiences and delivering direct, dedicated information to their customers.
Armed with programmatic media buying skills they know exactly what their customers want, when, and how. What’s more, using its automated rules for buying and optimising media, they are benefiting from its efficiencies of time and money.
In 2013 this targeted ad selling hit $12 billion, it will somersault to a predicted $32 billion in 2017 and is expected to be the only way media will be purchased.
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