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ConsumerDecisionJourney_McKinseyOver the years, we have heard that Baby Boomers and other mature consumers are so brand loyal that they aren’t worth marketing to.  This simply isn’t true.   We also know that traditional marketing is becoming less effective, regardless of age.

New research from McKinsey & Company shows that traditional marketing only impacts 1/3 of consumers’ purchase decisions.  So what drives the rest?

Well, McKinsey found that almost half of people’s awareness comes from either people’s own experience or through consumer-driven marketing, such as word-of-mouth, online research, and offline / print reviews.   For the initial consideration, prior experience accounted for 28% of the touch points.  What was interesting, though, is that as people moved closer to making a decision, the importance of the prior experience dropped to only 5%, and traditional company-driven marketing fell to only 22%.

The consumer-driven marketing grew to 30% and the importance of the store/agent/dealer interactions also grew significantly to 43%.  This is important because it demonstrates that the personal brand experience only influences between 5 to 28% of a purchase decision.  As McKinsey notes:  it’s good for creating awareness, but consumers aren’t tied to a brand when it comes time to make a decision.

What really drives purchase decisions is what other people are saying about your product and service and how clearly your prospects can see and feel the benefits. This is an opportunity for companies marketing to Boomers, Silent Generation or any other generation/cohort. You can capture new market share from competitors who aren’t delivering an exceptional experience for their customer.

McKinsey’s research supports Creating Results’ own findings that the mature marketplace is not “stuck” to specific brands.  A consumer’s personal experience is only part of the equation.  Traditional marketing and consumer-driven marketing can help you create awareness and gain new customers.  Are your beliefs limiting your growth?

About The Author

Todd Harff

Insights from agency Founder Todd Harff have been shared in Brand Week, Ad Age, Marketing Charts, The Wall Street Journal, The Journal on Active Aging, 50+ Magazine, and Selling to Seniors and from podiums at international conferences. He is the co-author of three national studies/eBooks (Photo Finish; Social, Silver Surfers 2010 & 2013). Todd also developed programs on marketing to Baby Boomers and seniors for George Mason University, Lasell College/ E.L.D.E.R. and NAHB’s University of Housing.

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