Monthly Archives

February 2012

Generational Marketing: How to Reach Boomers

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by Victoria Hoshal

It’s no surprise that Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), are the most important demographic within the U.S. consumer base. They are the largest generation in American history. d.trio researched a range of industry resources to define the most relevant and timely advice for those marketing to Boomers. Here’s our re-cap.

Boomers and older consumers (born before 1965) are the single, largest consumer group in America at over 100 million. They are the wealthiest, best educated and most sophisticated purchasers. With more disposable income than any population in America, they are, the “New Customer Majority” (David Wolfe).

Boomers represent over 29% of the U.S. population. They hold 70% of U.S. wealth and control over 50% of the U.S. discretionary spending powers. Boomer women wield significant buying power; making or influencing 80% of household purchase decisions. Boomers are:

  • Health care influencers – purchasing over 61% of all over the counter medications and 77% of all prescription drugs
  • Travelers – 80% of leisure travel are boomers
  • Health conscious or dealing with health issues – 39% of Boomers are clinically obese; over 80% of Boomers research their health issues online.

Some channel observations for marketing to Boomers:

  • They are still influenced by television advertising
  • Print media is still alive – they are traditional print readers
  • They also like reading online and respond well to electronic books and publications
  • Boomer women are more open to change than GenX or GenY
  • Their online behavior is consistent – over 91% use email, 88% use search engines and 74% receive news online.

Boomers are early adopters of technology, and in fact, created the technology we enjoy today. Think Steve Jobs/Apple, Bill Gates/Microsoft, Larry Ellison/Oracle…you get the picture. Boomers have spent most of their working lives using technology – they are tech savvy. Statistics show that Boomers will quickly adopt technology that meets their needs, and this adoption rate is increasing every year. For example:

  • Boomer women appear to own iPads or tablets at four times the rate of the general public;
  • Boomers spend more money each month on technology than Gen X or Gen Y – an average of $650 per month
  • Boomers spend 15 hours online per week, compared to teenager’s 13 hours per week
  • 45% of Boomers downloaded more than 10 apps in the last year
  • 33% read QR codes on their smart phones
  • 35% download movies from Netflix or other streaming providers
  • 46% buy music by downloading it from a site like iTunes.

Because Boomers are early adopters of technology, we conclude that they are somewhat channel agnostic. The message is more important than the medium. If marketers develop the right messages, they can engage Boomers, regardless of channel.

Life transitions are often at their peak for Boomers. According to an article by Nancy Shanka Padberg, marketers can build their brand by understanding this change and offering understanding and product solutions:

  • We make your life better.
  • We make your life easier
  • We understand you.

From health and wellness to luxury travel or wealth transfer, opportunities abound for marketing to Boomers. However, success will be driven by authenticity, individual connection and relevance.

Numerous blogs from Media Post ( informed this article:
Life Transitions Create New Opportunities for Marketers, Oct. 17, 2011
Who’s Buying All Those IPads? Boomers Become Earlier Tech Adopters Every Year, Dec. 12, 2011
Social Media – It’s Not About Technology, Dec. 5, 2011
A Boomer State of Mind, Nov. 21, 2011
Other sources include Experian Marketing Services and

Bank Marketing Trends for 2012

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by Victoria Hoshal

We’ve seen significant changes in how consumers view and use banks and their products over the last year. These changes will no doubt continue to evolve in a dramatic fashion for 2012. They will drive how banks define their brand and market themselves. d.trio suggests the following four trends as important to track in the year ahead:

Shifting Payment Dynamics
Increasing federal regulations have permanently dented debit cards and paved the way for new forms of payment tools and systems. Debit cards and their reward programs are declining. Credit cards are coming back, albeit with new restrictions and more wary consumers. Demographic groups such as the Millennials and Generation X contribute to the demand for non-traditional payment methods. Pre-paid cards and their usage will continue to grow in 2012. New cards and payment products will be offered by non-bank entities (i.e., Suze Orman and her Suze card), which will alter the competitive landscape of banks and Financial Services. P2P (person-to-person) payment products such as Zash Pay offer a way for young consumers to facilitate direct payments and avoid using cash .

What is the net result for 2012? Traditional payment dynamics will be changed forever and banks’ hold on the payment system will loosen.

Mobile Banking Advances
Mobile banking will ramp up in 2012, driven by the increased saturation of smart phones and tablets. Less than two years ago, smart phones represented approximately 17% of the U.S. market. This increased to 44% by October, 2011, with 64% of cell phone owners ages 25 – 34 using smart phones.* Banks have not kept pace:  A recent mobile banking study revealed that 75% of consumers who use mobile banking did not hear about it from their banks but rather sought it out and tried it on their own!  Clearly, many banks that have been slow to market their mobile programs will look to catch up quickly in order to save face and business.

*Smartphone penetration skyrockets in 2011, Dec. 15, 2011,

New Branch Paradigm?
Bricks and mortar provide a community face to bank brands, they offer credibility, geographic convenience and a human connection. Today’s consumer still wants a branch bank – but how they use it is changing. The increase in online banking, mobile and other interactive services means that consumers may not require a teller as often but will more likely want to engage with a banker. Consumer demand for consultative, individualized services and financial education will require changes in the physical interior design of a branch (the teller line may no longer be front and center). These changes in service will have important implications for staff hiring and training.

Banks must also continue to rethink best branch locations: Where does it make sense to have a branch? Is it best within a grocery store or other high-traffic retail environments?


Product Innovation
It’s not hard to see that product innovation is being forced by the above shifts in the banking industry. With the effect of daunting new regulations and non-bank payment system vendors coming into the market, banks must become product innovators in order to stay competitive.


From pre-paid card alternatives to P2P payment solutions, the consumer is demanding new products, and is willing to buy them from a credible, non-bank entity if necessary. Banks must confirm a commitment to developing or purchasing new products that work for their customer or desired customer.

The pace of change in banking for the coming year will continue to be driven by all of these substantial market forces. Although this may seem radical for the average bank and financial institution, the opportunity for growth may be greater than ever before. Stay tuned.

d.trio: The Year in Review

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by Victoria Hoshal

2011 was digital at d.trio!  The demand for our digital services increased significantly – from website and micro-site development, landing pages and banner ads to email campaigns and online videos.

Our clients expanded their focus on integrated, multi-channel initiatives, as we saw across the marketing services industry. There were few stand-alone direct mail campaigns. Most clients used one or more additional customer engagement tactics, primarily email. This challenge of managing multiple channels and media is a top priority for most marketers. Read more from d.trio’s recent presentation to the Minnesota Retailers Association (read our B2B and B2C tips).

As bank marketers, d.trio could clearly see the effects of the economy and the changing financial regulations facing our clients. A return to card marketing, especially prepaid cards, was prominent. We also observed credit card activity increase as debit card reward programs were eliminated. Read more in this issue (Bank Marketing Trends for 2012).

Lastly, d.trio diversified its client base in higher education and the non-profit sector. We expanded our relationship with the University of Minnesota and welcomed Concordia University – St. Paul and the University of Wisconsin-Stout as new clients. We worked with the City of Belle Plaine to bring a new logo and branding to life. d.trio also partnered with Opportunity Services to help them promote their important work of assisting adults with developmental disabilities.

Throughout 2011, d.trio was challenged, inspired and rewarded with terrific clients and projects.

An infusion of new talent took place at dtrio in 2011. The account team gained two Senior Account Executives with diverse experiences and complementary skills. Our first newbie, Julie Genung, has over a decade of project management know-how from agencies like Ogilvy & Mather and Wunderman and Fallon.  Julie’s calm demeanor and marketing insight are a great addition to our team.

Arriving next on the AE scene was Jordan Bainer who combines a bent for “big picture” strategy with attention to detail. Jordan’s experience base includes both higher education (think Bryn Mawr College and the University of Cincinnati) and consumer brands such as Proctor & Gamble, Jim Beam and Samsung.


Holly Jacobsen, Graphic Production Manager, joined us in May. Holly’s background encompasses over 15 years experience in graphic design, commercial art and prepress production.  Holly is that rare blend of creative and technical talents. She builds production-efficient works of art with ease and enthusiasm.

Since April Victoria Hoshal been charged with bringing in new clients and business to d.trio. As a direct marketer, entrepreneur and former business owner, Victoria brings over 25 years of real-world marketing experience and savvy to the process of developing clients and relationships. Her categories of expertise include higher education and B2C retail.


Awards are icing on the cake. This year we had our cake with triple frosting!  d.trio won Best In Show and TWO Gold Awards at the 2011 MDMA (@MidwestDMA) ARC Awards with Turf Wars. Turf Wars was a unique client-engagement campaign that increased our Facebook  Interactions by 833% and Likes by 900%. On the d.trio website, Turf Wars generated a 1225% increase in site visits and an 802% increase in unique visitors. No typos….these are authentic three and four digit increases!

The Art of Social Marketing

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by Victoria Hoshal

As consumer-facing companies struggle to refine their media mix, they may or may not understand the delicate balance of how much is too much – or not enough, within their social marketing channel. We suggest that marketers keep in mind the following basic principles in order to maximize and leverage their social media marketing activities.

5 do’s of social media

  • Follow your brand & products on all social media channels & listen on a daily basis
  • Create original content that will lead customers to actionable areas of your website
  • Create a business public profile, which allows you to separate your personal and professional online lives, for yourself on relevant social channels
  • Take action when negative/positive comments are made – even if it is to send up a red flag to the appropriate person in your organization or agency
  • Use your SEO keywords in your social media messaging and update as needed

5 don’ts of social media

  • Respond to posts & comments with boilerplate language
  • Send a spam direct message “thank you” to Twitter users following you or your brand – unless there is a relevant offer/tip attached
  • Share personal information on Facebook & Twitter unless it is part of brand building (personal or company)
  • Use trending hashtags on Twitter unless they directly relate to your brand and are non-controversial
  • Use canned content from other websites to fill your social media messaging gaps

Lastly, marketers should remain vigilant and sensitive to consumer privacy and consumer attitudes and preferences. Understanding that consumers desire the opportunity to give a company feedback on their products or services, but may not want to be targeted via their social profile. In a study recently released by the Insight Strategy Group, nearly 64% of participants stated they “hate” being targeted by a company via their social networking profile, and 58% agreed that social media marketing is invasive.

Smart marketers will find other ways to carefully utilize consumer preferences and behavior data generated from the social channel. Click here to read the complete story from MediaPost News – Study:  Consumers View Social Marketing As Invasive.

Online Retail Marketing – Holiday 2011 Review

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by Victoria Hoshal

Despite the recessionary outlook, online retail sales for the Holiday season exceeded 2010 levels by 15% and reach historic levels. Consumers spent $35.3 billion online, according to market research organization ComScore.

Email and online channel growth was highlighted by a YOY 9% increase to the top 500 retail sites during Peak Week alone (Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday). Other specific increases in email-generated revenue and digital marketing include the following, as cited by Experian Marketing Services:

  • Average order values increased by 4.4%
  • Email volume rose by 19%
  • Unique open rates remained positive for most verticals
  • 26% of subject lines featured and offer
  • Dollars off offers were most popular, vs. the percent off strategy used in 2010

Driving the sales was a welcome increase in consumer confidence, which rose to 64.5% in December 2011. This was a 10 point increase from November of 2010 (Conference Board).


As we reviewed the results, strategies and tactics employed by online retailers in 2011, several trends emerged:

  • The last minute shopper has more options than ever before, as E-gift cards and certificates sales boomed. Most major retailers offered e-gift cards and e-gift certificates that can be purchased online and delivered digitally via email or cell phone. See our list of resources at the close of this article for a list of retailers and their terms.
  • Mobile gift cards can be stored on consumers’ cellphones or smartphones and redeemed in-store at checkout (see resources to click to complete article).
  • Another morph is the “Virtual” gift card distributed via Facebook. For example, gift card notification can be other posted to a friend’s wall or sent to their Facebook message box, as designated by the giver.
  • Gift cards as an overall category (all channels) accounted for 18% of all purchases, a 3.4% increase from 2010.

Retailers are becoming savvier each year in integrating online and bricks and mortar purchasing to maximize sales. A tactic that is becoming more prevalent is “Ship-to-Store.” This option allows customers to buy online and pick up their purchases at a local store, at their convenience. Benefits to customers are savings in shipping time and shipping charges.

The good news continued past Christmas, when consumers continued to spend:  $7.1 billion in sales on December 26th. This represents a 25.% increase over 2010. Of special note is that 11.3% of these sales came from mobile devices, compared to 4.3% in 2010.

Resources quoted and utilized in this article include:
2011 U.S. Christmas Holiday Retail Data, Statistics, Results, Numbers Roundup
Peak Week Sees Email and Online Channel Growth
2011 Holiday Season Email Snapshot
Retail Stores Selling Virtual Gift Cards Through Facebook Social Media
Mobile Gifts Cards – Complete List of Largest US Retailers With Mobile Gift Cards
Best Online Last Minute Gift Shopping Options – E-Gift Cards and Certificates
Fast and Free Shipping Option From Online Retailers with Ship-to-Store Options