Instant messaging and live chat may appear to dominate communications these days, but email still counts as a marketing tool – especially if you’re over 45, according to a new analysis from the Data and Marketing Association (DMA).

Most of those aged 45-65+ check email at least once a day, and for most, Gmail is their preferred primary personal email address.

It’s perhaps not surprising that the older we get, the more we prefer a larger screen. In general, all those in this age group would choose a computer over a phone. The exact opposite occurs in younger age groups, who prefer small screens, such as phones and smart watches, researchers found.

Once we hit 65 years or more, the preference for desktop-sized screens is most pronounced, reaching 73%, compared to 61% of those between 55 and 64 years, and just 48% of those aged between 45 and 54 years.

The research also found that device preference is reflected in actions undertaken by people when they receive marketing messages via email on their mobiles.

Those between 45 and 54 prefer more direct calls to action, like visiting a shop or clicking through to a website.

But those 65 and over would use a computer (45%) or tablet (13%) before taking any further steps.

Puzzlement over how marketers obtained a personal email address increases with age, it seems. Those over 45 years are significantly more likely than younger people to reply “often” when asked how often they consider this question, and this increases the older a consumer is.

Only 35% of those between 45 and 54 said GDPR had made them feel more confident about the way their data was handled by brands, but this too increased with age – 44% among those aged 55-64 and 48% of those over 65 years of age said they were more confident.

“As an industry, we must address these key areas to retain email’s position as the central thread around which a multi-channel experience can be built,” said Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA.

“That means using the data available to us, to think strategically and ask ‘why?’ a little more often, and a dash of creativity to execute campaigns that will fully engage. It’s in this mix that truly intelligent marketing is born,” he added.

Sourced from DMA