If you're one of the many businesses who focuses exclusively on the so-called "grey pound," you're missing a trick. The boomer generation has long been associated with robust spending power and tons of disposable income, and marketers, as a result, have tended to focus on appealing to this audience alone.
However, within the next three years the millennial generation is set to reach similar levels-and many brands are still ignoring them. There's no need to choose one or the other. You can create a multi-generational marketing campaign to appeal to both the boomer and millennial pockets, and in doing so position your business profitably for the future. Read on for four reasons you need to embrace multi-generational marketing, as well as insight into how you should go about it.
Multi-generational Marketing Creates the Future
We talk a lot about evolution-brands adapting, developing, trying to grow to meet the predicted demands of the future. What if you could actively create this future instead of trying to second-guess it?
The point is this. Millennials' activity now plays a proactive role in shaping the future of the consumer landscape. If you sit on the sidelines and wait for the millennial generation to "grow into your brand," you're destined always to be reactive. Those brands who actively engage, who reframe their value proposition to be attractive to millennials (without losing the boomer market) are creating a future in which their brand is relevant.
Millennial Spending Power is Booming
I'm not telling you to ignore boomers. I'm not saying boomers don't have significant spending power. What I am saying is that millennials do too-and you shouldn't ignore them.
Traditionally the millennial generation has been written off by marketers as lacking spending power, but that simply isn't the case anymore. Millennials are reaching their peak-they're all grown up now, and have the disposable income to prove it. The experiences market, for example, is huge. Millennials spend nearly half a billion pounds per month on live events, and that's just in the U.K.
Where boomers are spending money, so too are millennials and you'd be missing out not to target both generations. Doing so means developing an awareness of what each market is looking for, and framing your product or service to meet those varying needs.
One good way to appeal to the millennial market is through cause marketing. Millennials are more likely than any other generation to associate with brands on the basis of the causes they support. Brands can tap into this through developing marketing collateral to focus on these causes.
Be warned though, this is a double-edged sword. Many millennials are skeptical of companies leveraging cause marketing, so it's important to prove yourself to be authentic. If your campaign is hollow, you'll actively alienate the millennial market.
Boomers and Millennials Aren't that Different
I see plenty of brands avoiding multi-generational marketing because they think it's going to be hard work. As if baby boomers and millennials are on completely different ends of the spectrum and they can't see how to cross the divide. Well, I'm here to reassure you: boomers and millennials really aren't all that different. The perspectives they take might be different, but they have much the same approach to shopping. Both generations use online shopping, for example. Both love a good deal.
You don't need to create distinct on and offline campaigns. Consistency in key across all your channels-and be sure to clearly advertise the different channels you offer. If you have an app, shout about it in-store. Advertise your in-store discount codes online. Go omni-channel as well as multi-generational-and then track which generations are engaging with what so you can refine your approach.
Multi-generational Marketing Needn't Break the Bank
If money were no object, I'm sure we'd all have the latest and greatest app; the best online shopping tools; the most innovative website. But what if that isn't an option for you? What if you're fighting an uphill battle persuading your Marketing Director to relinquish spend for multi-generational marketing at all?
Well, there's good news: multi-generational marketing doesn't need to cost a fortune. It's about identifying key insights and parallels between the generations, and playing to those. One such insight comes when we consider how the generations make purchasing decisions.
More than 50% of boomers rely on good salespeople and information on websites when making a purchasing decision. They value accessibility of information and exceptional customer service. On the other hand, millennials can be characterized by their reliance on smart devices. They expect to be able to access information instantly, browsing online information while they're in-store, for example.
To play to both these sides could be as simple as ensuring your website is fully mobile responsive and that all information is easily available and easy to navigate. Inexpensive options that allow interactivity can be a wise investment-instant messaging, for example. And ensuring your holistic customer service is absolutely top notch, both in-store, online, and over the phone.
The key is to streamline-to create a harmonious multi-generational customer experience while gathering insights to allow you to tailor your approach over time. Leverage software from the likes of Mediahawk to track calls, integrate cross-channel interactions and attribute leads effectively.
A Final Note
Multi-generational marketing is a fantastic way to future-proof your business, and broaden the commercial appeal of your brand and product. However, to do this requires a level of insight and authenticity that many brands lack. If the people developing your campaigns are exclusively boomer-generation, how can you expect to effectively tap into and empathize with the millennial generation?
If you hope to create a true multi-generational marketing campaign, you must first aim to create a true multi-generational workforce. This isn't about numbers, so much as giving equal weight and respect to millennial voices-if you won't listen, you can't hope others will listen to you.
So on that note, I offer a word of warning. Multi-generational marketing is well worthy of investment, but if your internal investment doesn't mirror your external investment you're wasting your time.
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)