UNDERSTANDING HOW TO MARKET ACROSS GENERATIONS
When I ask a business owner “who is your target audience?”… they often say “everyone!”
This is not true. There are many characteristics which will make somebody your perfect customer, and others not.
So as much as we wish our products or our services resonated with consumers of all ages, in this era it’s just not possible to be something to everybody. It is both exhausting and time consuming trying to accommodate for everybody and then getting very little sales back. Marketing is all about finding your niche, identifying your target market, understanding what it is that they need and delivering the message in a way that they understand.
This may sound contradictory, but the age of your customer is of little relevance, but their generation is crucial to determining your marketing approach when you are creating your marketing material. There’s no point creating a great marketing piece for a platform your target audience rarely visits. Have you ever been burned by believing “build it and they will come”?
If you have, then you might find this advice invaluable. Here are some great tips for how to market to the three main generations, breaking down their core values, habits and needs.
This generation’s birth date begins roughly around 1981, and consequently only a few years later the internet was born. Practically siblings, this generation and the web have grown up together. They’ve shared milestones and been connected since the start, so it is no surprise at all that this generation is all about technology.
They have the largest percentage of entrepreneurs and with the birth of YouTube in 2005, that’s when the rise of the ‘Youtubers’ started. This generation has a very dense and frequently updated online personality and many millennials have turned this into a career. Social media influencers dominate the internet, and they are one of the most popular marketing tools for influencing this younger generation.
Millennials are the least likely to respond to traditional marketing tactics because pretty much everything they decide or purchase is influenced by social media. I personally know when I’m looking for a nice cafe to take a friend, or looking for a specific outfit, I will search on Instagram or online stores. With such a fast-focused age group there tend to be a lot of new trends, so it’s important to keep up to date and ahead of trends. Adding a new solution and having a better way to fix a common problem that trumps your competitors, is often the shiny new toy that millennials FEEL THEY NEED and therefore WANT.
In an era that is so full of sponsored ads and forced sales, to cut through to millennials they want to feel like what they are viewing is real and genuine. It’s the time to change it up, connect and make it personal if you want to appeal to this generation.
Born between 1965-1980, this generation is the smallest and also the busiest. This generation is at the age where they are working hard at the peak of their careers, paying off mortgages and raising families. The grind just never stops for them, so from this analysis, it’s clear what they need… A break!
Although the majority of this generation are eager savers and focusing on being financially savvy, you can only hold back for so long before you realise it’s time to treat yourself, take some time off and relax. No matter your product or service there will always be a way for you to integrate a break or holiday into your marketing.
While some believe that email marketing is old school, (and to this millennial it might feel that way!) Email is a very effective way to market to a Gen Xer, because they rely so heavily on email for their work and business. They are always checking their emails, and something is bound to stand out if you market to their pain points. As I stated earlier, they are typically looking to treat themselves and there’s no better way than with a ‘great deal’ or ‘special offer’ that promises to give them back some of their most precious commodity… their time! That will definitely take an edge off of any guilt factor in splurging every so often.
Born between 1946-1964, baby boomers have a very strong work ethic along with high values and morals. They respond better to direct marketing as in they like talking to people. As they are closer to retirement than the other generations, they have become less spend savvy and are ready to splurge. (And so they should because they deserve it!). The kids are grown up and moved out, they’ve worked their butts off for years and if it were ever the time to spoil themselves… it’s now.
A very traditional and personal generation, it is key to connect with them. They don’t want flashy ads telling them what to do, that feels incredibly intrusive and they won’t respond well. They crave something far more genuine and personal. The over-50 crowd accounts for 50% of consumer expenditures, yet marketers are only spending 10% on them.
For a baby boomer, it’s all about brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is a pattern of consumer behavior through which consumers tend to get committed to a specific brand or product and make repeat purchases over time. This is where the power of loyalty and reward programs, incentives and brand ambassadors come in. It’s a very effective hook, because once you show them your worth or help them by offering a solution to a problem, just by keeping them in the loop with a consistent and quality marketing strategy, they’re yours for life.
I hope this information was helpful to you. Understanding the mindset behind your target audience and how they traditionally like to be communicated to is the first step to really connecting and creating long-lasting consumers of your products and services.
Helena’s Marketing Tips!
PS – if you want to talk about content creation, your website, your social media presence or anything related to getting your profile out there… make sure you get in touch.