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Linking Digital & Traditional Marketing Strategies for Boomer Engagement

As any marketing professional will tell you, modern problems necessitate modern solutions. An often-overlooked aspect of modernity, however, is the ability to combine disparate components to create something greater than the sum of its parts. In the case of marketing to Baby Boomers, this means combining digital and traditional marketing channels to maximize audience engagement and boost a variety of key progress indicators among target audiences.

At Coming of Age, we take pride in finding the right approach for our clients’ campaigns, particularly when vying for the attention of Baby Boomers in a crowded digital landscape. To this end, the interplay between digital and traditional (or online and offline) marketing efforts plays a crucial part in understanding how conventional marketing strategies need to evolve to better accommodate older audiences, especially as the typical marketing toolkit continues to expand.

So how can brands combine these contrasting marketing solutions to create something nuanced and effective?


Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

To better understand how digital and traditional marketing can coalesce into the stuff of a successful campaign, we first need to discuss how each of them function independently in a B2C context.

  • Digital Marketing encompasses every medium available across the world wide web, from social media to search engines. While digital marketing efforts work best when narrowly focused towards a specific, targeted audience (and thus may not have as broad of a reach as traditional marketing), they are also a bit more cost-effective when combined with analytics tools and data-driven insights to shift tactics on the fly.
  • Traditional Marketing may not have the analytical resources found in the digital marketing toolkit, but this shortcoming is undercut by a broader overall reach driven by print media, television, billboards, radio and direct mail messaging. Most traditional marketing efforts can be seen as one-way communications between brands and audiences in the absence of a robust suite of analytics tools and limited interaction opportunities, but traditional campaigns are still the preferred method for brands looking to focus on local or regional audiences. Despite higher relative costs and time commitments compared to digital efforts, traditional marketing continues to account for over $86 million in ad spending in this year alone, according to an EMarketer forecast.

In summary, there are pros and cons to each approach, with digital marketing allowing for brands to measure and adjust their targeted impact on the fly compared to traditional marketing’s broader (but less time and cost-effective) reach among local and regional audiences. A more productive way to think of these two contrasting marketing strategies, however, is to view them as complimentary aspects of an integrated, nuanced approach to senior marketing.

Let us explain.


Creating a Cross-Media Strategy

While it may sound tempting to construct a digital-only approach to increasing engagement among older audiences, traditional media is far from outdated in the eyes of older audiences. According to Pew Research, adults aged 50+ have a much stronger preference towards television, radio and print publications compared to their younger cohorts, with 72% of 50-64 audiences reporting getting news from television compared to 41% for 18-29 audiences.

Since audiences of all ages are plugged in to a wide array of media channels at any given time, a one-two punch of digital and traditional media marketing can effectively amplify a brand’s voice and gain traction among target audiences if applied correctly. Identifying the media habits of consumers or the most effective traditional marketing platforms in a given geographic location, for example, can give brands further insight into which set of marketing strategies provide the most holistic, directed solutions.

The real challenge, then, lies in finding the right combination of digital and traditional channels with which to reach older audiences. Luckily for you, we’ve had more than enough hands-on experience with multi-channel marketing solutions.


Case Study:  Boosting Engagement for a National Health Insurance Provider

A recent client of ours was looking to boost their profile among 50+ demographics to showcase a new product line. This client, a national health insurance provider, was looking for a new way to grab the attention of older audiences after middling returns with conventional marketing strategies. Once we understood what the client wanted to accomplish, we began a research and discovery process to further investigate which methods would be the most effective.

Ultimately, the most consequential inputs were:

  • Lifestyle attributes
  • Demographics
  • Behaviors
  • Location

Based on our analysis, we determined that a direct mail campaign would be the most effective means to get in touch with our client’s target audience. After developing the necessary creative materials and having the direct mail sent out to the targeted audience, we kept a close eye on how the recipients (or at least the target audience in their targeted geographic area) responded to paid search advertising.

The results were striking: we found that the mail campaign had a substantial impact on the target audience’s paid search activity. While the weekly paid search spend remained relatively consistent, response activity spiked after direct mail arrived in homes. This also illustrates that larger mail drop volumes correlate with greater digital direct response activity, as demonstrated with the direct mail drop on 10/14.

As we experienced firsthand, ensuring cohesive messaging, branding, and creative themes across channels can streamline the user experience as they interact across different platforms. Therefore, fine-tuning your cross-channel campaigns can pay dividends among older audiences.


Refining by Combining

By carefully integrating digital and traditional marketing channels, brands can more effectively engage senior audiences, maximizing both reach and impact. As demonstrated in our case study, combining direct mail with paid search advertising resulted in a notable increase in engagement.

Cohesive messaging, consistent branding, and unified creative themes across platforms streamline the user experience, ensuring that older audiences receive clear and compelling communication without becoming overwhelmed or bored with a brand’s messaging. This integrated approach not only enhances the effectiveness of individual marketing efforts but also creates a synergistic effect, making the overall campaign more powerful and efficient. Embracing this strategy allows brands to connect with seniors in meaningful ways, ultimately driving better results and establishing their message as tailor-made for their target audience.

To learn more about which multi-channel marketing solutions are the right fit for your next campaign, reach out to us at comingofage.com/contact and our marketing experts will do the rest.




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