Marketing Strategies to Target Each Generation
A successful business wouldn’t be successful without reaching its customers. That is where marketing falls into place, as the role of content marketing is to attract the attention of the target audience, which will hopefully commit to a certain product. When creating a marketing strategy, one of the things that will define it is exactly the target audience. Promoting a product is hard if you’re trying to sell it to many different demographics.
Millennials know when brands are targeting them online, recognizing their language and branding attempts. However, people over 50 are not familiar with the ways of digital marketing. Which generations are more likely to shop online? Which would rather shop in brick-and-mortar stores and respond best to telephone calls?
Marketing to Millennials
Millennials are people born between 1981 and 1999. They are slowly outnumbering baby boomers and gaining momentum in the workforce. They are the biggest generation of entrepreneurs because they began entering the workforce when the global economies crashed. Being soft-shelled and soft-hearted, they value social issues more than economics. According to a 2014 study by Brookings Institute researchers, they’d rather make less money doing a job they love than earn a fortune at a job they find boring. They are the least frequent shoppers to be seen in stores but spend great amounts of money when they shop. They respond well to shopping convenience, recommendations from their peers and online shopping opportunities.
Millennials are staying unresponsive to old marketing tactics, thus reshaping the way products and services are being marketed. When they are to decide where to eat, what kind of clothes they would like, or which hair stylist they should go to – their decisions are based on Instagram pictures and Facebook posts. They talk with their trusted peers about everything from which business to start to where to go on a first date. By making sure that your customer experiences and online reviews stay great, you can indirectly influence this generation.
#2 Reach Them Through Social Media Incentives
Consider adding incentives to your marketing plan to harness the power of millennials on social media. Millennials are more likely to connect to a business on social media channels if they get a discount or a coupon. A 20% incentive is enough to prompt about 50% of respondents to visit a store location. You can also ask them to share the experience with a few friends on Twitter or Facebook, and then provide them with a full incentive.
What will be the next big thing? Millennials are always eager to find out that. When Instagram added the possibility of temporary shares, which they copied from Snapchat, the Internet freaked out. When Steve Jobs changed the way a regular computer looked like, the Macintosh blew up. Millennials like when they are offered new perspectives on common tasks or problems, so businesses should take this approach when marketing to millennials.
Marketing to Baby Boomers
The baby boomer generation includes people born between 1946 and 1964. They grew up during the era of post-WWII and they are slowly embracing the new technology of today. By 2014, about 65% of people aged 50-64 used social media platforms, according to Pew Research. Baby boomers don’t completely understand Facebook marketing ads but are still most responsive to direct marketing tactics which include talking to real people. As consumers in today’s market, they have the highest value, because they are more likely to spend more money on shopping trips and splurge on items they haven’t planned to buy as they are hitting retirement. Boomers also spend most of their money on technology – everything from the newest smartphone to a premium USB cable.
#1 Susceptibility to Traditional Marketing/Sales Methods
Baby boomers prefer to talk to a real person before purchasing something and are most susceptible to traditional sales and marketing methods. However, marketing attempts seen as intrusive in their personal lives are not greeted warmly, so don’t call during dinner time. Boomers use social media mostly to reconnect with their old friends so Facebook ads won’t be as effective as traditional newspaper and television ads.
Baby boomers usually join loyalty programs in order to save money. That’s why they favor cash-back programs and they tend to spend more at places which offer this type of incentive. When it comes to credit cards – according to USA Today, 48% of Baby Boomers rely on credit cards and prefer to spend more rather than leave money on the table. They are big fans of getting points through big purchases, which they can achieve with American Express and various gift cards. Cash-back opportunities provide easy-to-understand benefits, which makes them so popular among boomers.
#3 Brand Loyalty
Baby boomers are loyal to their brands. They have their favorite product lines, everything from deodorants and washing detergents to wine and candy. If you prove that your product is of great quality, chances are you’ll attract some boomer customers.
Marketing to Generation X
Generation X people were born in the 1965-1980 period, and are reaching the peak of their careers today. They are pessimistic as they are anxious about saving enough money for their retirement funds, are juggling homeownership and child care. Gen Xers are worried, they deal with all kinds of obligations and work a lot, but they’re also present online. They have embraced online shopping experience but still, like to do in-store shopping.
#1 They Don’t Really Follow Trends
Xers would gladly buy a product that somehow benefits the environment or society, and is less prone to following trends. Look at Toms for example – this brand was bolstered to success with their simple “one for one” message, even though their shoes are not the most attractive ones. Facebook or Pinterest can help you with this marketing strategy.
Gen Xers don’t rely on Social Security after retirement, but they save money for starting a business, home ownership, college, retirement, so they like coupons. They react positively to retail emails, so email marketing is an efficient way to communicate with Gen Xers. This generation of people checks their emails on their desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, at home and at work.
#3 Lifestyle Nurturing
Facebook gives you a huge number of targeting options. You can send ads to members of your target audience for their birthdays or anniversaries. Some companies offer their customers regular delivery of perishable goods so they never run out of the products they need on a regular basis (for example, cosmetics or dog food). This is a great way of establishing brand loyalty and making Gen Xers’ lives somewhat easier.
Remember that not everyone will respond in the same way, as each generation is comprised of individuals with unique personalities, so don’t neglect other segmentation strategies and demographic targeting. However, every generation has its common behavioral traits caused by the social environment of the time, which can help you connect with your target generation.
About the Author
Emma Miller is a Sydney based writer with a degree in marketing. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups, and the latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog.