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  • signaltonoise 2:15 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: demographics,   

    The Courtship of “Lady Geek” 

    In the U.K. this week, advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi is getting a lot of attention for a new survey it released which finds retailers and manufacturers are falling sort when it comes to connecting with female consumer electronics purchasers.  According to one report, consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers will miss out on £600m this year because of this failure.

    Below are some of the highlights from the report: 

    • 35% of female internet users polled said they would increase their spending on consumer electronics if marketers and retailers thought harder about how they approach them and offered more guidance in stores and on e-commerce sites.
    • One in two women said they walk out of shops and leave websites without buying anything because they’re unable to find what they want, representing a huge opportunity for brand owners and retailers who are prepared to rethink their approach.

    Surely, retailers will take note of these numbers.  Despite the fact that 35% of those surveyed said they’d be willing to increase spending if offered more guidance, retailers are still seeing 50% of female visitors abandon. 

    The Saatchi & Saatchi survey notes that north of 40% of women go shopping for consumer electronics without a specific brand or product in mind representing a massive opportunity for retailers and brand owners to reap the financial rewards if they effectively market to this group of women. 

    Imagine the incremental sales they could generate if only they were to reach out to those that would otherwise abandon, and offer the guidance they say would help increase their spending?

  • signaltonoise 1:23 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: demographics,   

    What you can learn from your recipient’s email address… 

    Chances are if your email recipient is using a Compuserve email address there may be some challenges in getting your message read.  It could have something to do with the ISP or it could be that their email address is telling you something about them as an individual.

    Not long ago, I spotted this illustration on The Oatmeal which jokingly analyzed “What your email address says about your computer skills…”  In summary, anyone not using their own domain or at least a Gmail address is a luddite while those that do possess either their own domain or Gmail address at least know their way around the internet.

    This made me wonder…is there any truth to these statements?

    Now, obviously The Oatmeal cartoon is a bit of satire at the expense of those that aren’t exactly on the bleeding edge of technology. However, can a person’s email address really reveal some secret about them that will help you connect with them?

    We all know that each ISP has its nuances when it comes to what they will tolerate from an email delivery standpoint.  ReturnPath conducts regular studies on non-delivery rate by ISP.  The most popular ISPs tend to be the toughest when it comes to blocking email.  And Gmail seemingly has the highest standards of those surveyed.  

    Is it simply that Google holds its product to a higher standard or is it that the average Gmail user is more discerning over the type of content they will allow in their inbox?  According to ReturnPath, “Most of the major drivers of poor inbox placement rates are the direct result of marketing practices, not technical ones. These include complaints, which spike when email is unexpected or undervalued by the recipient and spam traps, which are most often found on lists that are old or have been built with poorly sourced data.”  So there could be some truth that level of sophistication on the part of the recipient could play a big role in what’s perceived as SPAM.

    But what else can you learn from a person’s email address?  Let’s assume that you’re in the early stages of building a relationship with a prospect and you haven’t gathered much information about them besides their email address (which they hopefully provided to you)…what can that email address tell you about them?  

    First, it can tell you how you may want to approach the design of your email.  There are a number of third-party providers out there that keep updated lists on some of the nuances between various email clients/providers and how they might render your HTML emails.  Here’s one example.

    Second, you can use the email address to get a general sense of your audience’s profile based on their ISP.  Now, you want to be very careful about making broad generalizations and hopefully over time you’ll gather a specific profile in your CRM for each contact, but analyzing some of the differences between ISPs could be useful if you don’t have much else to go on. Here’s why: demographics.

    A quick search on Quantcast reveals some interesting demographic differences (and similarities) between some of the major web-based email services.  Here are a few quick snapshots comparing AOL, Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail.





    So whether it’s due to audience perception or bias, or actual statistics, it’s evident that not all email services (or recipients for that matter) are created equal.  There are some important distinctions between ISPs that may be worth considering in your email campaigns to prospects.  Again, the point is not to make broad generalizations using this information, but rather to use this as an extra data point when considering how to tailor your messaging and outreach to early-stage prospects.  Happy hunting…

  • signaltonoise 1:22 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: demographics,   

    Teens Love Texting, Right? Not So Fast. 

    The Pew Internet and American Life Project released some interesting data today which might have you whipping out your cell phones to text your incoming class.  Or maybe not. As you probably have guessed that report finds that teens like their mobile phones…a lot.  

    In fact, Pew finds that mobile phones are now the centerpiece of communications for most teens.   According to a summary of the report’s findings, “Those phones have become indispensable tools in teen communication patterns. Fully 72% of all teens2 – or 88% of teen cell phone users — are text-messagers.”  

    At this point, many college marketers are probably salivating at the possibilities. However, before you start thinking of pithy, 160 character messages that you can start broadcasting via SMS to your database, here’s what others have found with respect to SMS advertising and teen preferences.

    SMS Is Personal

    A number of studies have found that while SMS is a preferred communications channel for many teens, they still view it as a “friends only” medium.  A recent White Paper from ExactTarget written with the Center for Media Design at Ball State University stated that “Another surprising data point is that 42% of teens prefer to communicate via SMS, yet 62% prefer to receive promotions via email vs. only 1% via SMS.”

    This is consistent with some surveys that we’ve conducted here at Intelliworks.  When it comes to conducting “business” teens and young adults still view email as a primary channel of communication for receiving promotions and interacting with organizations. Similarly, social networks like Facebook are gaining favor with brand and affinity marketers, but still have a ways to go when it comes to delivering transactions.  

    Notifications Not Promotions

    In a summary of their channel preference survey conducted last year for CRM Magazine, Morgan Stewart of Exact Target summed up the feelings towards SMS as a marketing channel: Only those that have all-inclusive data plans are receptive to text marketing, but even then they are likely to prefer direct mail or email promotions. Consumers feel customer service notifications, such as travel or financial alerts, are the most appropriate uses of corporate text messaging. Even then, it is still a matter of personal preference.

    The same probably holds true for consumers that are engaging colleges and universities.  More than likely they’re not going to want to receive an advertisement from you via text message.  However, if they’ve already engaged your institution (i.e. applied) then perhaps they’d be willing to opt in to receive notifications from you via text message regarding their application status or reminders of upcoming deadlines they need to know about (for example).

    LOL, OMG: Not Just for Kids

    This advice seems to hold true not just for reaching out to teen student populations, but adult learners as well.  As mobile use grows across all age groups, marketers will look to ways to engage with consumers on this platform, but the marketing preferences seem to be consistent across generations.  In a recent channel marketing preference survey of adult learners, consulting firm (and Intelliworks partner) DemandEngine found similar results:

    Opt-In Is Key

    Regardless of channel, opt-in is key to whether or not recipients will respond.  Below are some more details from the CRM Magazine article on what channels are appropriate and when:

    • Direct mail (85 percent of American online consumers have provided at least one company with permission): Direct mail is universally seen as the most appropriate channel for marketers to communicate with American online consumers. The majority of consumers are receptive both to permission and unsolicited messages through this channel, making it the direct marketing channel for acquisition. Direct mail gives consumers time to review messages at their leisure, which gives them the sense that they are in control of the relationship. It also provides people with written documentation of transactions, which is a source of comfort for some (especially older) consumers. The delay associated with delivery of direct mail makes it less than ideal for customer service issues, especially those requiring immediate notification.
    • Email (95 percent have provided permission): Email is also used universally among online consumers and is widely accepted as a direct marketing channel. That said, issues with spam have rendered this channel acceptable only for permission-based communication. Consumers’ negative views of unsolicited email can cause them to turn against even reputable brands if they perceive email communications to be spam, making relevance critical. Online consumers expect confirmation of online transactions and customer service calls through email.
    • Text messaging (7 percent have provided permission): Text messaging is growing in popularity as a channel for communicating with friends and family, but it is largely off-limits to marketers for promotional marketing. Targeting consumers as they drive past your retail location is still too “Big Brother” for the vast majority. Only those that have all-inclusive data plans are receptive to text marketing, but even then they are likely to prefer direct mail or email promotions. Consumers feel customer service notifications, such as travel or financial alerts, are the most appropriate uses of corporate text messaging. Even then, it is still a matter of personal preference.
    • Social networks (4 percent have provided permission): Social networks have not evolved into a welcome place for marketers-at least when it comes to direct marketing messages. Consumers understand the ad-supported model and don’t mind general ads in this environment, but this does not translate into receptivity to direct messages from marketers.
    • Telephone (37 percent have provided permission): While unsolicited telemarketing is universally viewed with contempt, calls related to the status of a current account or alerts related to travel or potential fraud are viewed very favorably.

    When it comes to communications channels it’s important to know that just because you can do something that doesn’t mean you should.  That’s a lesson the Word of Mouth Marketing Association learned when they sent out a phone blast to its members.  The same holds true for text messaging.  There’s a time and place for it, but just because your audience is there that doesn’t give you the right to intrude without their permission.

  • signaltonoise 1:22 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: demographics, ,   

    The Multi-task Generation 

    The youth of today sure do love to multitask.  Forrester Research recently asked a group of U.S.-based 18-24 year-olds which activities they’re typically doing while surfing the Internet.  As the graphic below demonstrates, this generation is full of multitaskers who do anything from talk on the phone to read a newspaper while on the Web.  

    Oh, but Forrester adds, “…consumers don’t just multitask across different channels; they also do many different things on the PC at the same time.”  

    This begs the question, what (else) are they doing when they’re reading that email from your college or filling out that online application?  What are the chances that your presence will stand out?  You better hope they’re supertaskers.

  • signaltonoise 1:08 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: demographics, , , tweens,   

    Tweens on Twitter 

    As usual, Brad J. Ward offers some interesting insight today on his blog about Twitter trends in higher ed. He finds that more than 400 institutions of higher education now have some presence on the micro-blogging site. However, he also notes that “Admission offices usually have the lowest # of followers out of all types of accounts.”

    This made me wonder why this might be, so I did a quick search on Quantcast to see what the demographics are of Twitter users. Not surprisingly, there were very few teens (approx. 1%) currently using the site and more than 2/3 of users do not have children between 12-17 in their household.

    This could mean Twitter may need some time to develop before it has a big impact on traditional undergraduate recruitment.

    So why haven’t teens embraced Twitter yet?

    Youth Marketing blog YPulse offered a sound explanation recently stating that, “As long as teens can update their status via MySpace and Facebook for their friends as well as IM and text, Twitter doesn’t really add to the existing technology.”

    Does this mean Twitter won’t ever catch on for teens?  YPulse suggests that as more pop icons begin to build their Twitter presence younger audiences will follow in time.

    However, until that happens, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  Twitter’s growth, as Brad alludes to in his post, is a force to be reconed with. There’s still a role for Twitter in higher ed recruitment, admissions and marketing to constituencies besides prospects…just look at how may young professsionals are on there.  Might be worth cultivating your alumni groups or even building a following for your graduate and executive programs.  

  • signaltonoise 4:35 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: demographics, , , ,   

    Kids’ stuff? I don’t think so. 

    Think social networks are only good for recruiting undergraduate students?  Think again. 

    Conventional wisdom indicates that professional networking sites like LinkedIn are where adults spend their time while sites like Facebook and MySpace are where the kids hang out.  This may be true to a certain extent, however, Karine Joly points out an interesting study today from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that finds adults are rapidly buying into the non-professional social networks, and it may make some higher education recruiters rethink how they approach the social web. 

    Here are some stats that Joly highlights:

    • 75% of our college crowd, young adults aged 18-24 have a profile (no big scoop here, but always nice to have some recent data, don’t you think?), 57% of online adults 25-34, 30% of online adults 35-44
    • In February 2005, just 2% of adult internet users had visited an online social network “yesterday” while 19% of adult internet users had done so in December 2008.
    • Social network users are also more likely to be students — 68% of full time students and 71% of part-time students have a social network profile, while just 28% of adults who are not students use social networks.

    • Nearly one third 31% of online white adults have a social networking profile, compared with 43% of African-Americans and 48% of Hispanics.
    • So, where are those networking adults?
      • 50% of adult social network users have a profile on MySpace
      • 22% have a profile on Facebook
      • 6% have a profile on LinkedIn

    Now, demographics can only tell you so much. Context also matters quite a bit. For example, professional networking sites like LinkedIn are a natural fit for graduate and executive education programs looking for motivated participants seeking to advance their careers. 

    However, as Facebook users mature and expand their networks beyond their circle of friends sites like Facebook have the potential to turn into powerful professional networking tools as well. LinkedIn’s appeal amongst professional networkers is one of the reasons why so many MBA and executive programs have begun to advertise there. What if Facebook begins to attract a similar crowd? Some have already noted that Facebook may indeed have LinkedIn in its crosshairs.

    Certainly worth keeping an eye on. The lines between social networking and professional networking are beginning to blur.  Quite simply, it’s not just for undergrad anymore.

  • signaltonoise 4:29 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: demographics,   

    The Facebook Demographic 

    Wyatt from our very own PRODUCT  MUSINGS shared a couple of great articles with me today that take a look at some of the changing demographics at Facebook.  Both posts find that Facebook’s original demographic of college-aged users is growing at a slower pace than other demographics (no big surprise there since the system was originally JUST for college-aged users).  However, what’s worth noting is the growth Facebook is seeing in other areas…and that the college-aged population is STILL growing, just not as fast as before.

    Ben Lorica writes at O’Reilly Radar, “Among the major Facebook age segments, the fastest
    growing are teens (13-17) and young (26-34) to middle-age (35-44)
    professionals, with the growth in teens driven by non-U.S. markets.”

    Meanwhile, the Inside Facebook blog also points out the networks growing presence in non-U.S. markets.

  • signaltonoise 4:21 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: demographics, , ,   

    Talkin’ Bout Which Generation? 

    Harris Interactive released  the results of a new study a couple of weeks ago that aimed to investigate some of the widely held attitudes across generational lines.  The study looked at several stereotypes across generations, such as “Baby Boomers are Self Indulgent”, to see how members of each generation are actually perceived.  According to the researchers, “These findings show that two widely held views are false. One is that
    America is riddled with ageism and that younger people have no respect
    for older people.”

    Also, something of note to higher education recruitment professionals out there…be conscious of which labels you use to refer to your constituents.  I’ve heard the word “millennial” used quite a bit in recent years, but guess what…they don’t like being called that.  Here are some names that each generation would prefer, according to the Harris study:

    • Gen Y would like to rename themselves the “Internet Generation” (32%). They really dislike being called “Generation Y” or “Millennials.”


    • Gen X would choose to rename themselves “Generation Tech” (25%). They dislike being called “Generation X.”


    • Baby Boomers are the only generation which seems to really like the name given to them (27%).


    • The Silent Generation would re-name themselves the “Responsible Generation” (44%). They strongly dislike being called “Silent” or “Invisible.”


    The images above are from MarketingCharts.com.

    I think this video sums it up well…

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