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. This type of targeted marketing can also give you a competitive advantage because your customers see that you’re meeting 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
Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be sharing tips on how to effectively market to the more recent generations, starting with the Baby Boomers and working our way to Generation Z. That way, you’ll be prepared to reach whichever generation your business has its sights set on.
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 a grandparent, 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:
- 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 they’re age will hold them back.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
Which generation are you targeting?
If baby boomers aren’t the only generation in your target market, be on the lookout for other posts in this 4-part generational marketing series for additional tips to reach your target audience. We’ll soon be covering:
- Generation X
- Generation Y/Millennials
- Generation Z