From door-to-door sales to social media content, from buying off the rack to Amazon Prime; the way people from different demographics respond to marketing strategies and spend their money varies from generation to generation.
One of the greatest marketing challenges for any business or brand is knowing how to effectively reach and appeal to your target audience. There is a wide demographic range consuming content these days, and it can be hard to differentiate your marketing strategy from one group to the next. Each generation has a different set of values, interests, behaviors and experiences. Knowing the trends of each generation, how they spend their money, what marketing strategies engage and inspire them is key to growing your brand and increasing your reach.
To effectively market to each generation, it is important to recognize the differences between them. What sets them apart from each other? What makes each generation unique? What do they value? Where do they spend their time, money and energy?
Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964):
Recently, my baby-boomer father discovered that you can learn how to fix any kind of car by watching YouTube. My father has resisted technological advancement for most of my life. Now suddenly, he has a tablet and checks Facebook daily. The baby boomer generation holds 70% of the country’s disposable income and they are all about to enter retirement. They will have a lot more time on their hands, so here are a few ways to snag their attention:
Social Media: 65% of Baby boomers are on social media, most of these are Facebook accounts. Over 20% of Baby Boomers consume over 20 hours of content per week. That’s a lot of content!
Stick with what they know: Baby boomers value hard work, loyalty and community. They will stick with a company who has proved its worth – that is familiar, safe and trustworthy.
Make it personal: They want to know what your business stands for. They want to know the values and the story behind the brand. Baby boomers value traditional marketing over other generations, and they trust face-to-face interactions more than others. (Personal emails, phone calls, in store sales)
Let’s make a deal: They are the most likely generation to bargain hunt. They respond to discounts, coupons and deals.
Generation X (Born 1965-1980):
Generation X is known as the “middle child” of generations. They are caught between two of the largest generations, and sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Generation Xers are entering the peak of their earning and spending years. They are on the go, many with young families and busy with their careers. Marketing strategies need to reach them where they are, and catch their eye amid all that they juggle:
Social Media: Most Generation Xers have smart phones and utilize social media sites. Generation X uses Twitter and YouTube more than other generations.
Show the facts: They are not as easily convinced by trends and styles – they are influenced by facts, research and customer testimonials. They are more likely to spend on products which better society or the environment.
Email: Generation Xers respond better to email marketing, which may seem old-fashioned, but most are constantly checking their email for and from work, on their smart phones and on their laptops throughout the day.
Lifestyle Programs: A great way to reach Generation X is through lifestyle programs. Most Gen Xers have young families and are inspired/intrigued by companies which provide them not only with a great product, but with consistent information/programs which makes their lives easier. (For example, Babies-R-Us sends emails to pregnant and new moms about the stages of their pregnancy/baby’s development and products which can help ease the transition.)
Millennials (Born 1981-1995):
Millennials make up one-fourth of the total population. This group is taking over the marketplace, having $200 billion worth of buying power. Millennials are a unique breed. I’ve heard them described as entitled, soft-hearted and restless. Millennials are not ones to maintain a steady job year after year (trust me, I know), they (we) float around looking for the perfect career that makes them feel as if they are changing the world. They would rather make less at a job they love, than make tons at a job they think is boring or ordinary. Marketers are prioritizing millennials and it is revolutionizing the future of marketing as we know it:
Social Media/Online shopping: Millennials are the least likely generation to shop in a store. They utilize online shopping and are all about convenience when it comes to buying. They rely heavily on social media for decisions about where to eat, where to shop and what to do.
Trends: Millennials love the next big thing; they follow trends and want to be part of the latest craze. For example, millennials are often heard talking about the next iPhone or any Apple product, really. (I’m typing from my MacBook Air right now.)
Peer Pressure: Millennials are heavily influenced by the opinions and input of their peers. They love to utilize sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor for personal reviews (for example, my husband and I spent way too much time this evening reading Yelp reviews and trying to decide where to go out to dinner for Valentine’s Day.)
Interactive Marketing: Millennials are constantly connected, sometimes on multiple devices at once. They were the first to grow up with technology at their fingertips, and they want to interact with and participate with your brand, not just see it.
Authenticity: Millennials value authenticity over anything else. They don’t fall for the hard sell. They want to support a brand that has a cause, a story and are willing to get personal.
It is important to remember that everyone in each generation is made of unique personalities and not all people will respond the same way. Wondering how to market to a specific generation? We can help!! Follow our blogs and sign up for our newsletter for more information and to learn how to market to every generation!
Becky Martin is a content writer with a passion for creativity, and also has an extensive background in psychology. In addition to writing, Becky is an avid reader who collects old books, loves to sing and travel, and drinks way too much coffee! She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband Jeff and adorable sons Charlie and Lucas.