Much has been made about the need to capitalize on the buying power of the Millennial generation. However, as Seth Mattison, a “Millenial Guru” at BridgeWorks, noted in “Closing the Gap: Engaging Multiple Generations in Today’s Dynamic Marketplace,” to be a successful business of any kind it's important to find ways to appeal to all generations.
Traditionalists (those born before 1946) especially want to know they are not being forgotten or taken for granted, or businesses risk losing their inherent brand loyalty. “We have to make sure we are thanking this generation for their loyalty,” said Mattison. And as the fastest growing segment on Facebook, it's never too late for the traditionalists to learn new tricks.
While Boomers (born 1946-1964) are known for being youthful idealists, as they age they face new pressures from work and family. “In order to connect with this generation, we have to think about where they are in their lives,” said Mattison. He suggested marketers pay attention to the limited time Boomers have and make communication simple and to the point.
Generation Xers (born 1965-1981) are far more skeptical than their parents because they grew up in an age where trust in institutions dropped precipitously. “There is no generation that hates to be sold to as much as Generation X,” said Mattison. In this case, honesty is the best policy: transparency on where a product comes from and how it was made will go a long way with Generation X.
Finally, Millennials' (born 1982-2000) constant connectivity is shaping where they look for information about a product or business. “There's a shift with this generation of who they trust and who they listen to,” said Mattison, adding that 51% of Millennials value a stranger's opinion over that of a friend or family member. For businesses, it's important that these consumers have access to reviews — both positive and negative — and a chance to talk to other clients about their experiences.
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