Contractors, you need to start looking at the three different markets you have to deal with. I mean you need to have a different message for the three different generations you market to. The Boomers, Generation X and Millennials.
This is something you need to realize if you want the highest return on your marketing dollar.
You’ve heard time and time again how important it is to use targeted marketing strategies to connect with your audience, but how exactly do you go about doing that?
Segmenting your audience into age cohorts is one way to divvy up your marketing efforts to pave the way for a more targeted approach. In other words, you’d be practicing generational marketing.
What is generational marketing?
Generational marketing is exactly what it sounds like: you market to a specific generation of people based on the preferences, attitudes and upbringings that distinguish them from other groups. It’s really about making the switch from sending mass marketing messages to tailoring and customizing messages for specific age groups.
By speaking to each customer in the way they feel most comfortable you gain a competitive advantage because your customers see that you’re meeting and understanding their individual needs.
In the marketing world, the living generations have been divided up into the following 6 categories:
• GI Generation – born between 1901 and 1926
• Silent Generation – born between 1927 and 1945
• Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964
• Generation X – born between 1965 and 1980
• Generation Y/Millennials – born between 1981 and 2000
• Generation Z – born after 2001
Do you need Generational Marketing?
You might. It honestly depends on you and your business. Are you marketing to a generation different from your own?
If you are of a different generation than your target market, then yes, you probably need generational marketing. Sometimes it’s tough connecting with a generation different from your own. Getting to know what your target generation wants, what they have experienced and what they value can make all the difference in getting the reactions you need to succeed.
Has your market shifted to a new demographic?
If your client demographic is shifting you may not be able to use the same marketing and sales tactics with the new demographic. Knowing how to reach your new client base, and what methods do and don’t work can save (and make) you a lot of time and money.
Even if you are the same generation as your customer base, or not changing your demographic base, understanding the tendencies of each generation can help you determine what will work best to reach the people around you.
Every generation has its own quirks and styles, and learning the ins and outs of those marketing segments can really help you.
Need help with your marketing? Call 856-812-3180 today for a free consultation.
Marketing to Baby Boomers
As was previously mentioned, Baby Boomers are primarily categorized as people who were born between 1946 and 1964, putting them in the over 50 age group. They are considered the “me” generation, with people born at this time characterized by their self-centered, self-fulfillment, individualist attitudes. They were the first TV generation, as well as the first generation where divorce was socially tolerated.
Now that this group has grown up through the phases of getting married, forming families, raising children, establishing life careers, and are maybe even grandparents, they view the world around them in an experienced way. In order to reach this generation appropriately and effectively through marketing efforts, we must make a conscious effort to show we understand their upbringing and values.
If the Baby Boomer generation is one of your primary target audience groups, follow these tips to form a stronger relationship with them:
1) First things first, don’t refer to baby boomers as old. Not only is it disrespectful, but it also disregards the way this generation is redefining what growing old and retiring means. This generation isn’t looking forward to retirement so they can sit at home all day and watch TV; this is the generation that’s going to retire and enjoy life by taking up adventurous hobbies like scuba diving, traveling, and skydiving! So when marketing to these people, don’t assume their age will hold them back.
2) Keep your promises. If you promise a Baby Boomer that your product or service will help solve a specific problem, you better follow through with that promise. This is all about building and maintaining trust between your business and your audience.
3) Focus on customer service. Providing and practicing exceptional customer service is key to winning over the Baby Boomers. They crave one on one interactions, whether they happen in person at the store, over the phone, or online through live chats. User-friendly websites can also add to the customer service experience by providing an easy to access hub where visitors can find answers to all of their business related questions.
4) Provide online resources. Instead of assuming that anyone over 50 isn’t all that tech savvy, think again. According to ImmersionActive.com, this age group is actually the fastest growing demographic online. They spend more time per week online than they spend watching TV. Immersion Active also shared that, “the Internet is the most important source of information for Boomers when they make purchasing decisions.”
That being said, it’s extremely important to create and post informative sources about your products or services online, hopefully on your website or company blog. Explain the benefits of the offerings your company provides as a way to convince Baby Boomers to make a purchase.
5) Encourage online purchases. Baby Boomers haven’t always had the luxury of buying Christmas presents using a tablet while lounging comfortably on the couch in their living room, but boy do they love it now! This generation actually outspends younger adults online 2:1, Immersion Active reports. Make is easy for baby Boomers to purchase your products by designing an online store and linking it up with your website. Place call-to-actions on your marketing materials directing them to your website and convincing them to buy now. Why deal with the hassle of going out to the store when you can make purchases anywhere at your convenience?
6) Incorporate social media into your digital marketing mix. Younger people are increasingly turning away from certain social media sites because they’re not exactly interested in being “friends” with their mom and dad on Facebook. Nevertheless, these social sites are a great place to reach Baby Boomers. The statistics confirm that Baby Boomers are the fastest growing age cohort on Facebook, “with an 80% surge in users between 2010 and 2014.” By marketing to this generation on these platforms, you’re increasing your opportunities to interact with them and get a branded message in front of them.
7) Send mobile-friendly email marketing messages. Another stat shared by Immersion Active in their article about mature consumers online was that 83% of adults over the age of 50 own a mobile phone. Roughly one-third of those are smartphones, which are used primarily by this generation to access their email. Given that checking email is the #1 activity Baby Boomers use their phones for, create email campaigns to promote your business. Use carefully crafted subject lines that appeal to problems or issues a Baby Boomer might be encountering to lure them into the email where they’ll find the perfect solution.
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Marketing to Generation X
(My Generation, to clarify)
Generation X, born sometime between the years of 1965 and 1980. They love the new tech of the century, their families, freedom, and independence. Generation X has seen heavy events, civil rights movements, several wars across the Atlantic not to mention the grunge fashion movement. A stereotypical X-er will be family oriented, financially responsible and self-reliant.
The Tech Division of Generation X
Generation X can be the hardest generation to pin down. You’ve got two types of Xers;
Those born earlier in the generation tend to hold some of the values of the Baby Boomers. While those born later in the generation have some Millennial style traits.
It’s surprising how different each end of the generation can be. Across the generation ideas and ability with today’s tech vary quite a bit. Earlier members of the generation may still have trouble with technology such as computers and phones, while the later members have no trouble at all and actually be enthusiastic early adopters.
So more tech dependant marketing techniques may appeal more to the younger X-ers and miss the older sect altogether. Even with their differences, some types of marketing works universally well across the generation and the need for proper tonality and an authentic message apply throughout.
So how do we market to this Generation?
They’re not as conservative as their parents, but not as liberal as their kids. By now Gen X-ers are typically between 35 and 50, so you can actually get away with some older-fashioned marketing tactics, as well as incorporating new ones.
First and foremost, be authentic. Don’t hide agendas or values from these folks. It means a lot to them if your company is transparent. Be forward with your intentions, no “smoke and mirrors.” Many Gen X members hold strong family values along with their desire for safety and security. If your message reflects these, you’ll have an easier time connecting. Show them you can be trusted and you can provide them a reliable service to build a relationship and referrals.
Generation X has some issues with authority. Quite a few of them were “Latch-Key” kids, left to their own devices until the streetlights came on. Gen Xers grew up in a time when the economy was either rising or falling, when politicians were at the forefront of tabloid for scandals and their parents were losing their jobs.
They believe respect is to be earned through time and experience. You can’t just show up and tell them what’s up. So when you’re talking to them, writing to them, marketing to them, don’t be bossy. Don’t tell them to do something like they have to. Gen Xers work best when you give them what “could be”, and then leave them to figure it out on their own.
But at the same time, don’t be wishy-washy. Keep yourself confident in your work, don’t give them a reason to doubt your experience. Be forward, be sure of yourself, but don’t get cocky. We’ve already talked about authenticity. Stay true and you’ll be fine.
Back on the topic of the two types of Xers, mailing preference can have a decent impact. Snail mail or email, both work well.
Generation X still holds an appreciation for standard mail, as long as it isn’t bills that is! Many members of the generation still send out hand-written cards for both personal and professional means. Direct mail may reach Gen X at home more effectively than in their place of work. Many of this generation have moved into management and may have their mail sorted before it’s delivered to their desk.
Email is an instant gratification of sorts for personal and business matters, and the later members of the generation are pretty tech savvy. Gen X-ers check their email on a fairly regular basis, so they’ll usually see your message. A mailing list, either paper or digital, is a great way to market to Generation X. If you’ve got something to communicate, send it to them!
Videos work too. Digital media, such as a personal video for your business, can make a huge difference in how your current and potential clients see you. Done right, your new video can add a more human flair to your company. Which makes you seem more approachable and trustworthy.
Videos are also more likely to be shared over social media than links and articles. About 80% (46 million US) of Gen X have a Facebook account and. 50% use it daily. Video sharing over media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter are at an all time high, so it’s a good avenue to consider while making your marketing plan.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the internet is kind of important. Almost everyone is connected to a social media account of some sort nowadays. And with the invention of smartphones, that’s a 24/7 availability through the web.
So having some sort of social media presence is probably in your best interests, or at least something to consider, no matter which generation you’re dealing with. If you really had to pick just one, FaceBook for Generation X.
Have a Website
It’s fairly straight forward. You want to reach your clientele, and in this day and age, a website is a really safe bet. A clean, well-designed website can do wonders for your business. Generational marketing aside.
Get out there
Generation X is an incredibly independent and practical segment in the generational market. They have some issues with institutions and authority, but really appreciate transparency in a company. This generation is self-reliant and likes to work things out for themselves. They love their family, freedom and technology.
Make it personal, communicate with your consumers and be authentic. Incorporate these ideas when targeting this generation in your marketing plan, and you’ll have a much easier time garnering the desired effect.
Which generation are you targeting?
Need help with your marketing?
today for a free consultation.
Who are Millennials?
To begin, Millennials are people born between the years of 1981 and 2000. Ever since they were born, strides were made in every field of technology, advancing life as they knew it. Millennials are people born between the years of 1981 and 2000. Ever since they were born, strides were made in every field of technology, advancing life as they knew it.
Furthermore, Millennials are the first generation to adopt such a wide acceptance of equal race, religion and LGBT. They tend not to separate people with these characteristics like the previous generations tend to do, whether they mean to or not.
The Pew Research Center found that 52% of Millennials’ priorities are being a good parent. Growing up in a peaceful time period meant positive relations were built with parents. However, “only about six-in-ten were raised by both parents.”
Therefore, Millennials do not take for granted the importance of marriage because they do not want a divided household. Having good parents were influential to them and they want to continue that with their own children. (Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change)
Some of the top technological breakthroughs of the 1980s, included: the Internet, Nintendo Entertainment System, cell phone, Apple Macintosh, DNA fingerprinting, Microsoft Windows and a disposable camera.
Some of the top technological breakthroughs of the 1990s, provided by Timetoast, included: the Internet was now available to anyone who could pay for dial-up, the invention of internet browsers to search online, DVD player, Nintendo 64 and a portable MP3 player.
Because of the high rate of technological growth, Millennials have a tendency to expect quick and immediate results. They are not accustomed to waiting for anything and their patience grows thin quickly. Millennials have short attention spans, it is just that plain simple.
In addition, Millennials have a tendency to not tolerate inequality in any form, whether it be racial, religious or LGBT based. Their patience grows thin once again when faced with this particular type of situation.
“A nationwide Pew Research Center survey was taken in 2009… found that the public — young and old alike — thinks the younger generation is more racially tolerant than their elders. More than two decades of Pew Research surveys confirm that assessment.” (Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change)
Marketing to Millennials
If you want them to notice you, then you have to notice them first. Millennials want to be seen first as a human being before a potential customer, client, etc.
Because Millennials are surrounded by their technological devices, which take away from their attention towards you (the marketer), you need to reach them through their own way-MEDIA! Social media is the biggest key to marketing towards Millennials.
Think Snap Chat, Instagram and YouTube.
Connecting with their families is the other way to market towards Millennials. Like I said, good parenting is a high priority for them. Millennials will do anything to give their children a good life and they will put them before themselves faster than a heartbeat.
- Be genuine!
Do not try to be salesy because it will not work! Millennials can see right through every trick you may think you have up your sleeve. They have been surrounded by marketing their entire lives and they know every tool in the trade. So, do not try to pull one over on a Millennial with your marketing, just be genuine!
- Be prepared to offer instant gratification.
Again, Millennials have grown accustomed to getting everything at their fingertips instantaneously. If you have the ability to offer instant gratification, then you can soar above your competition.
- When competing online, actually compete.
Clearly state your value proposition right off the bat. Especially if your business or company is not meeting the status quo, then you need to be able to explain why. Demonstrate why investing in your business or company is better for buyers, even though your competition may offer something you do not.
- Answer the questions they really want the answers to.
Millennials do not tolerate marketing schemes. They can smell an attempt on one from a mile away! Therefore, just be straightforward with Millennials. If they want to know how much your service costs, then offer an estimate form online in exchange for contact information. However, do not lie by saying you offer an online estimate when, actually, after the form is submitted, you call to deliver the estimate 48 hours later.
- Deliver on your promises!
You better keep your word all the way to the grave or be prepared to be trashed online and by word of mouth. Millennials are honest people and they expect the same from you (marketers).
- Do not discriminate in any shape or form!
I repeat, do not discriminate in any shape or form! As I mentioned before, Millennials are extremely touchy in that subject area.
- Interact with people both online and in person.
Millennials do not take for granted kind gestures. Comment on their Facebook post or invite them to meet at Starbuck’s instead of your office. Engaging goes a long way because it makes people feel they are important to you, not only as a customer but also as a person.
- Make sure to be mobile friendly.
This term means that your company website can switch from desktop site to mobile site without any technical difficulties embracing mobile formatting applies to your email too! The Pew Research Center found that 83% of Millennials sleep with their cell phone. They will not be interested in your business if they cannot access your website on their mobile device.
The popular media communication ways include: texting, email, video and social media.
- Create an account for one or two social media sites and devote all of your efforts into keeping them running strong. It is not beneficial to have five social media accounts that you rarely use because you cannot keep up with them all. It is more marketable to only have a couple that you use on a daily basis, that way all of your time and energy is spent wisely and efficiently.
- Post everyday it is essential that you build up an online presence in order to appear significant and valuable. People feel more confident in businesses with many followers on Twitter compared to those with very few. There is no set number of how much you should post; take in what people are reacting to and adapt to satisfy those needs
Top social media sites include: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- 82% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook
- 55% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Instagram
- 32% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Twitter
What doesn’t work.
Less popular media communication ways include: television, magazine, newspaper and radio.
- Television and magazine marketing can be successful if done properly. The best way to reach your target audience is to market through specific segments. For example, if you want to reach families via television marketing, then you should go through the cartoon and Disney channels, not the mainstream ones.