Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Media, Direct Mail & Senior Citizens

Our discussion question in class this week asked us to give our views on what type of traditional media would decline or be eliminated in the next 50 years. Some of my classmates mentioned direct mail which I disagree with. I think direct mail will reposition itself in the future but not disappear. If anything, I think direct mail will benefit from the evolution of new media because even online media vehicles can benefit from having offline promotion. Many people think direct mail is declining and not effective at targeting the younger generation but Tom Duncan makes me think otherwise when he makes the following points:

• “Young adults 18 -21 are more likely than any other demographic group to respond to a direct mail offer.”
• “Mail may not be as sexy as newer media such as the internet, but it is the third largest medium behind TV and newspapers, accounting for approximately 20 percent of all media spending.”
• “The average adult receives 22 pieces of mail per week.” (Duncan, p. 581 582).

I work for an insurance company in which we use direct mail heavily when marketing to Senior Citizens (65+ years old). Although direct mail is our primary marketing vehicle we do have our eye on new media, particularly the web, as well. We know that seniors currently are the lowest utilizers of the web but also the fastest growing. According to “According to recent findings from Nielsen//NetRatings, senior citizens age 65 and older were the fastest growing age group online, surging 25 percent year over year to 9.6 million Web surfers from home and work in October 2003. Additionally, within the senior citizen age group, Nielsen//NetRatings found that the number of female seniors online jumped 30 percent, while male seniors jumped 20 percent” ( This is going to pose an interesting marketing mix for marketers targeting the 65+ generation as the baby boomers who are relatively web savvy become older.

The use of new media with senior citizens will require marketers to explore new advertising methods in order to capture this audience. I believe direct mail will be key in the promotion of driving seniors to the web. Senior citizens will be more willing to use the web however I think they will rely on direct mail to tell them where to go rather than trying to take the time to search for themselves. This is a case where new and traditional media will integrate well together to target an ever changing and growing segment of the population. Online senior citizen marketing could be the next hot segment in marketing communication.

- Patrick

Duncan, Thomas. (2005). Principles of Advertising and IMC (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Retrieved on November 2, 2008 from

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