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Marketing to a Multi-Generational Audience

If you thought target marketing to a multi-generational audience was easy, think again. Marketers looking to connect with Millennials, Gen-X, and Boomers are faced with the challenge of appealing to these active consumer groups. It’s crucial for marketers to understand that specific marketing strategies resonate differently with each generational group. Here are some marketing trends that brand strategy professionals need to know about each generation.

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Millennials – The Technology Generation

Millennials have their own set of characteristics that make them stand out from other generations. Did you know Millennials have nearly $200 billion in buying power? Companies can’t afford to ignore their enormous purchasing power. Millennials are incredibly diverse when it comes to social class and workplace industry. Marketers need to understand that Millennials are always connected to technology and without constant access to the Internet, they feel helpless. Marketers need to maintain constant communication with this generation at all times of the day.

This generation’s preferred method to engage with brands is through marketing emails. Email marketing is fast, cost-effective and non-invasive. In fact, 51% of Millennials surveyed indicated email as the preferred method of interaction with brands. Email ranks as the most preferred digital marketing platform for brand interaction and 85% of online shoppers are either somewhat or very likely to open marketing emails. But, that doesn’t mean Millennials want to be bombarded with emails. When it comes to Millennials, less contact is more impactful.

Let’s be real, Millennials are obsessed with social media. Even though email is the preferred marketing method for Millennials, brands must be on social media to be recognized by this generation. A cutting edge marketing team should always be looking for new ways to share and engage on social media. But not every social media site is right for every brand. The mobile revolution has had marketers working overtime. Online, offline and mobile strategies have all been merged to adapt to this technologically savvy generation. Chances are you won’t be taken very seriously by a Millennial if you don’t have a Google listing, a Facebook page, and a yelp review or two.

GEN-X – Caught In The Middle

Generation X has the highest spending power of all living generations. Although they are just 25% of the population they hold 31% of U.S. income. This generation is truly caught in the middle of the battle between technology versus traditional marketing. Saving money is a priority for this generation, and they are comfortable hunting for online deals. They take the time to research online and read reviews before making a purchase.

Gen-X uses email for personal communication as well as business which means they are on their email frequently. Reaching out to this generation with personalized offers tailored to their interests can be effective. Also, Generation X is more receptive to a higher frequency of emails than the rest, so sending emails more frequently won’t scare them away. This generation is also on social media, so advertising through Facebook and even sites like Pinterest appeals to them.

Generation X has an interest in politics and world news. Television and online video advertisements reach this demographic. Creating an “edutainment” or infomercial video will influence this generation. Youtube and retargeted ads are wildly effective with Gen X, who spend much of their time in front of a screen and has a much higher tolerance for ads than their millennial peers.

Appealing to this generation’s need for stability with branding is key. Advertise products with lasting value, security, and protection. Use media channels to show them how your product will make their lives easier and more fun. Marketers have overlooked these savvy spenders to their own detriment.

Baby Boomers – Living By Old School Traditions

As 75.4 million Baby Boomers enter retirement over the next decade, their spending and buying habits will change to match a post-career lifestyle. Seniors don’t follow the latest and greatest marketing trends. Targeting them with messages that resonate with their evolving needs is key.

Direct mail campaigns and videos were done at a slower pace with text is key for this audience. Keep copy clean, clear and simple. Be sure to address every potential question in a printed brochure and direct mailer. This generation does not take decision making lightly, and they view each purchase as a commitment. Sales pitches and testimonials resonate with Baby Boomers. They want to build trust with a brand. Since this generation has more free time, building rapport and trust is key, and worth it because baby boomers are expected to inherit $13 trillion in the next 20 years.  While Boomers like to have the option of a printed piece, they use technology as well, so ensure they have an option to print a calendar of events, as well as view it online or digitally add it to their calendar.

Although most generations use social technology in one way or another, it is better to market to just one demographic per platform. Rather than attempting to bridge the generational divide with blanket content, brands must devote time to understanding generational preferences. Don’t forget about the incoming Gen Z!