Marketing to Three Generations of Consumers

The number of consumers who shop online is expected to exceed 200 million this year. Now more than any other time, businesses have an opportunity to reach three generations of consumers. The challenge for marketing and design professionals is how to get their attention. In this post we’ll discuss what you need to know to launch an effective campaign for each one of them.

Marketing Baby BoomersActive, Shrewd, and Financially Sound – Meet the Baby Boomers

Baby boomers are the generation with money to burn. As with the other generations, the ages are loosely defined, but are roughly categorized between 50 and 69 years old. They are the generation most loyal to brands they grew up with, specifically grocery store brands. They may not be the most technologically advanced generation, but they do use the internet and are active on social media. They just use it differently than Gen X and Millennials. Boomers use social media to actively engage in sharing bits of nostalgia and personal events with family and friends. They would rather post pictures of their grandchildren than take selfies with their friends. This generation also spends more time than any other generation consuming online content.

The biggest mistake you can make with the Baby boomer generation is underestimating their knowledge and experience. They aren’t the generation that is ready to fade away and make room for Gen X to take over. This is the generation that broke with the early 1950’s traditions and started a chain reaction. You’re going to have to establish value for them to be receptive to your products and services. Address their need to connect with their past and use the marketing channels they subscribe to. This includes Facebook and email. An overwhelming 92 percent of Baby boomers click on links to products in promotional emails and 55 percent purchase products from email campaigns.

By far the best method for effectively targeting Boomers is to clean up or maintain a good reputation online. They are likely to be your most loyal customers as long as you have a solid reputation and the propensity for delivering on your promises.

Marketing Gen XTapping Into the Independent and Resourceful Generation X

The Forgotten Generation, Gen X is perhaps the most neglected group of consumers mainly because these individuals make up the smallest percentage of the population, but savvy marketers will know that capturing the attention of this skeptical generation can be very lucrative. Ages 34 to 49, this generation was raised on MTV, acid wash jeans, and the introduction of the internet in their mid to late teens. In spite of facing two economic upheavals in their adult lives, one from the fallout of 9/11 and most recently the Great Recession, members of Generation X are still spending more money online than any other generation.

To appeal to Generation X, you need to understand their priorities and interests. According to a report by MetLife Mature Market Institute, their greatest concerns are home ownership, saving for their children’s college education, and obtaining financial stability. They are also the generation that consumes the most content across three of the biggest media channels: cable television, mobile, and social media. Generation X is more interested in world news and politics than the other generations, and they are the primary consumers of video content.

Tapping into the Forgotten Generation will take a combined effort of traditional and innovative marketing techniques beginning with social media. Facebook remains the top choice for every generation, with Twitter coming in at a close second for Gen X males, and Pinterest for Gen X females. Use videos whenever possible and don’t underestimate the power of familiarity. Gen Xers have been conditioned to using email as their primary source of communication for over a decade and they continue to use it even with the shift to text messages and social media. The devices with which they access their email from may have changed, but their desire to stay connected to it hasn’t.

Marketing MillennialsLet the Millennials Show You the Way

The number one sought-after generation is the Millennials. Made up of individuals aged 18 to 34, they are the most ethnically diverse and technologically educated generation of consumers. This generation values experiences more than possessions, places a high priority on environmental consciousness, and are community advocates. Avid social media users, Millennials rely heavily on recommendations by their peers when purchasing products and services. They share gifs and memes more than any other generation and they prefer interactive content that is brief and to the point.

The best marketing tactic to reach this generation of consumers is to combine entertainment with education. They want to be engaged and to share what they learn. By giving them the opportunity to review your product or service, you’re building a bridge to create brand loyalty. Your most powerful tool is your commitment to social responsibility. In a survey conducted by Nielsen on corporate social responsibility and branding of sustainable products, 51 percent of Millennials would pay more for sustainable products over conventional products and 51 percent also look for labels that provide that information.

Accustomed to apps and online gaming, this is a generation that grew up multitasking to get things done. This is why mobile is a must. If you’re expecting them to sit at their laptop and sift through endless content to get what they want, you will miss your opportunity to get their attention. Once they’ve made a decision, they won’t waste time acting on it. Making it easy on them will make it easier on you. When it comes to social media, Instagram is gaining favor with this generation, although Facebook is holding onto a small lead and images are the content most commonly shared on both platforms. Last, but not least, when marketing to the Millennials, be genuine. Share the experience your product or service offers and you are likely to see greater traction with this target market.


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Published On: Sep 24, 2015