There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.
This is especially true when it comes to marketing to different age groups.
When dealing with different age groups, genders, income levels, etc., you need to be flexible and understand the psychology and habits of each customer base.
Easier said than done.
This is where customer segmentation comes in. Customer segmentation is the practice of dividing your audience into different types of people.
There are all kinds of ways to segment your customers. Some businesses choose to segment by value, frequency of purchase/visit, product interest, acquisition channel, etc.
Without segmentation, I don’t think I would have gone very far in business. Using the power of segmentation in my email marketing, content creation, and analytics has allowed me to give the best value to my customers.
Segmentation is especially important in reaching different generations of customers.
When it comes to age groups, there are three primary generations you may need to reach at any given time.
I’ve seen a lot of marketers make mistakes when it comes to segmenting by generation.
That’s why I wrote this article. I want to dispel some myths around marketing to different generations.
First, I’m going to explain each generation—the facts and figures. Then, I’ll provide a quick list of the best marketing methods for reaching that generation.
How can you use this article?
Ready for action? Here we go.
Of the three generations, Baby Boomers tend to have the most disposable income and account for nearly half of all retail sales.
This generation is still growing as many boomers enter retirement and live longer lives due to improved healthcare.
If you’re a young person, you may think of the Baby Boomer generation as “old-fashioned” or not tech savvy.
And you’d be wrong.
Digital marketing—even the most advanced methods—works for baby boomers!
In fact, 85 percent of baby boomers consistently spend time browsing and shopping online, and “66 percent of people over 50 in the U.S. routinely make purchases from online retailers.”
Fewer baby boomers than Millennials own a smartphone, but still a 43 percent ownership rate is quite high!
When it comes to tech spending, boomers are the most liberal. They “spend more money on technology than any other age group.”
Nearly half the Internet population is comprised of people aged 45 and up.
And if you want to talk about social media, this age group has got it covered! (Especially Facebook.)
However, reaching this demographic requires a different approach from the approach you’d use trying to reach someone in their 20s or 30s.
For instance, a mobile marketing campaign is likely to yield only marginal results. Although 28.3 million baby boomers use smartphones, I still wouldn’t recommend it as a viable strategy simply because most view smartphones as more of a communication device rather than a tool for shopping.
MarketingSherpa’s research indicates that baby boomers are the least likely to use a smartphone to make a purchase.
You may also think that social media wouldn’t be a viable medium for reaching this generation.
However, baby boomers account for more than a fifth of all social media users. It’s just that they primarily stick to traditional networks such as Facebook.
I also found it interesting that baby boomers spend more time consuming content than any other generation. In fact, roughly 25 percent spend 20+ hours each week consuming content.
This is the generation that’s most overlooked. For some reason, it seems that Millennials get the majority of the attention these days.
The Open Forum calls Gen X “the forgotten generation.”
AdWeek also recognizes that they’ve been “largely overlooked.”
But unless you’re exclusively marketing to people under 40, you’ll want to gain a better understanding of this generation.
Even though they account for only 25 percent of the population, they have high spending power. Right now, they’re earning more money than any other generation. They are certainly willing to spend that money.
As they age and progress in their careers, their spending power will increase.
According to American Express, Gen-Xers claim “29 percent of estimated net worth dollars and 31 percent of total income dollars.”
Most tend to be financially stable and have a penchant for saving. Many remain traditional in the way they respond to advertising and marketing.
Among them, 43.3 million use social media, 38.2 million are on Facebook, and 37.3 million have smartphones.
And when it comes to shopping online? This generation is definitely all in!
Generation X is considerably more tech-savvy than baby boomers but not nearly as tech-savvy as Millennials.
This is my generation and the age group that many marketers try tirelessly to appeal to. And with good reason. They’re growing!
We’re the only generation who will understand terms such as “twerking,” “on fleek,” “turnt,” and, of course, “bae.”
Unlike baby boomers and Gen-Xers who haven’t always been exposed to computers, Millennials grew up with technology and have never known a world without them.
Some can’t even remember a pre-Internet world.
As a result, this demographic is incredibly tech-savvy.
Ninety-one percent are regular Internet users, and the average person of this generation spends 25 hours online per week.
When it comes to smartphones, they aren’t just seen as a way to communicate. They’re a way of life.
This age group is also likely to be active on a variety of social networks beyond just Facebook and Twitter. For many, social media is a primary means of communication.
Unlike older generations who often have a lesser understanding of pop culture, many Millennials have an appreciation for memes and Internet humor.
They simply get things that baby boomers don’t.
In other words, they’re “hip” and “with it” or whatever the kids are saying these days.
If you’re looking to reach this age group, it’s imperative to have a strong online presence. It’s wise to put plenty of effort into online branding and take reputation management seriously.
Mobile marketing and social media are your best avenues, and “Millennials are 247 percent more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.”
Text/IM/SMS? It’s a thing, especially among this generation.
Mobile and portability are key. Millennials are more likely to incorporate wearables into their everyday lives, not giving it a second thought.
Many Millennials are also eager to embrace the life of a digital nomad, exercising their mobility to its fullest extent.
Because this generation has arguably the shortest attention span of the three, it’s important to get to the point with your content and use plenty of visuals.
If you need to deliver long-winded information with a lot of stats, keep in mind Millennials often respond favorably to infographics.
In order to cast the widest net and reach the largest percentage of your customer base, it’s essential to tailor your marketing campaign to individual age demographics.
You won’t succeed by trying to appeal to everyone. You succeed by appealing to the right people in the right way.
By understanding the different mindsets and tendencies of different generations, you can make your marketing efforts go farther and build relationships with people of all ages.
Are there any specific techniques you’ve found to be effective for reaching a targeted age group?
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