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The Challenge of Marketing Across the Generations

What if you could please all of the people all of the time? In the realm of E-commerce marketing, that might seem like a necessary task, especially with an audience of at least three generations.  As any business owner knows, reaching out to as many people as possible is vital.

In today’s marketing, not only do you have many options for advertising—from the time-honored T.V. commercial to the social media post—but you also have an audience comprising multiple generations. Appealing to this vast array of age groups, from the Baby Boomers to the Millennials, could open up the door to many more opportunities.

Different Generations/Different Tactics

Having some knowledge about each generation’s preference for shopping and communication helps with creating a marketing plan that effectively reaches out to each of these age groups:

  • The Baby Boomers
  • Generation X
  • The Millennials

The Baby Boomer Generation

Take the Boomers, for example. They still value a great bargain, and with having just retired (or preparing to retire in the near future), they are more likely to look for discounts along with quality in a product or service. While they are comfortable with searching for items on the internet and making inquiries by phone or email, they still place greater faith in face-to-face contact.

Thus, some tips for reaching this generation include:

  • Focus specifically on the segment of this large population who would be interested in your product or service
  • Ramp up the pages of your site that “tell your story” and emphasize the benefits of what you’re selling
  • Ditch the “hard sell” and give this group the exact information that they request about your product or service

Also, you should remember that this group will take the time to research, compare, and make an informed decision on what to purchase. So be prepared with excellent customer service and ready answers.

Generation X

Gen X, on the other hand, is the demographic that’s more apt to turn to social media and online shopping. Furthermore, this group has the potential for increasing sales, since most have reached the top of their earning power.

Basically, Gen Xers possess values similar to the Boomers when it comes to honest advertising that doesn’t seek to push or manipulate the customer into buying. Also, they tend to seek out a combination of quality, function, and durability at the best price.

However, don’t expect them to pay much attention to the so-called latest trends or catch phrases—or to the same tactics that appealed to the previous generation. With flexibility being the name of the game, consider the following hints:

  • Don’t be offensive—this may not be the most “P.C.” crowd, but it’s one of the most diverse in relation to beliefs and backgrounds
  • Create a very user-friendly buying and check-out experience that’s fitting for both computers and mobile devices, as this generation is tech-savvy (or have at least one teen in the house who can talk them through it)
  • Build trust by providing detailed product descriptions and demo videos on your site and have a knowledgeable chat team ready to answer any questions

Another aspect about this demographic to keep in mind is they are very informed on matters of philanthropy and social matters. So if your business participates in community service or gives to any charitable organizations, remember to include that information on your About Us or even your home page.

The Millennials

And of course, there are the millennials whose demographic is 80 million strong. Although this group is still forging their career path, you can still engage them by employing any technological strategy that’s possible. Remember, this is the generation that has never known a world without mobile devices or the internet.

Some effective approaches include:

  • Build a powerful online and social media presence with share-worthy blogs and videos
  • Develop apps that are optimized for this extremely mobile generation
  • Ensure that links in promotional emails and sites are mobile friendly
  • Reap the benefits of their impulsivity by offering an additional item at the checkout

In addition to utilizing the best technology possible, you will also need to make sure all aspects of your site or your app stay updated, since this age group moves rather quickly and are not known for their loyalty to particular brands.

A Calculated Combo of Strategies

If you have the right tactics, then you can accomplish this difficult feat. You will need to focus on the common traits anyone would look for when shopping for and comparing products and services.

Some of these strategies include:

  • Customizing your mode of communication
  • Optimizing the user’s experience
  • Recognizing the importance of buyers’ behaviors and values
  • Rewarding customer loyalty

As you can see, clear communication—whether it involves a CSA on the phone or on a chat, content and visuals that demonstrate your products’ value, or earning and rewarding returning business, can take your sales to a whole new level, no matter which generating you’re marketing to. Every age group appreciates high quality and service at a great price.

Leslie A.

Leslie A. is a freelance writer, editor, and online tutor. She writes articles in everything from cooking to construction. She and her husband reside in New Mexico where they own their own small business in property management.

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