Baby Boomers and Millennials are the two dominating work forces but respond differently to marketing. Companies that market to both generations have a frustrating challenge to keep both generations attention, without breaking the bank. So how do you do it?
Millennials are no longer teenagers. We are now in our 20’s and 30’s, full grown adults with money to spend and experiences to have. If you want our money, then you need to market to us differently than you do for our predecessors.
Baby Boomers have dominated the consumer world for the last couple decades and are now getting ready to retire, if they haven’t already. The two generations have different tastes in marketing and companies are noticing. Suddenly there’s increasingly more Millennials consumers mixed in with previously Baby-Boomer dominated consumers.
This provides a predicament in terms of marketing since each respective generation prefer to get their content in different formats. This begs the question, how do we market to both Baby Boomers and Millennials at the same time?
First, let’s look at what each generation prefers and then see if there are any over laying ideas or combinations.
Baby Boomers came long before the internet. They used to (and some still do) attend trade shows, read industry articles and find value in customer testimonials. Although they didn’t grow up with the internet, studies show that response speed is rated as the most important factor (after price) when choosing a supplier.
Boomers are also more likely than other generations to make decisions on their own without consulting colleagues; compared to their younger counterparts. And when it comes to technology, their activities are primarily done on laptops and desktop computers; over mobile devices.
It seems one of the best ways to describe Baby Boomers, is that they want to know what you are going to do for them. The best approach to connect to this generation is to be a trusted source of support and advice. Framing your content in terms of how it benefits them.
You may have forgotten, but Millennials did not spend their entire life with the internet at their fingertips. (I remember countless sibling arguments over who got to be online. Back when there was only one computer for the family to share.)
Now that we have the world-wide web in the palms of our hands; it has become a part of who we are. Whether through social media or as our portal to connect to people in our lives. We primarily access the internet through our smartphones, compared to a desktop. So if your business is not mobile friendly, you will miss out on a lot of Millennial business.
We also don’t rely on ourselves as often as our older counterparts. Generally before we make a decision, we will ask friends or co-workers what they think.
This is a good thing for a company because if a Millennial is impressed or has a good experience with a business, we are more likely to spread the word to others. This is particularly helpful for companies since we tend to have a much higher visibility online, meaning each satisfied customer is likely to bring in a large amount of potential clients for the company.
It is for this reason, that businesses who try and share knowledge and promote their values tend to resonate with Millennials who share those values.
Below I have included a chart showing the preferred content consumption based on age range. You can see that typically Baby Boomers gravitate towards news articles, email content and research reports. Whereas, Millennials are drawn to videos and media content.
Looking at the above graph, you see consumers across age groups are consistently drawn to branded video content. Videos are one thing both generations are drawn to, whereas only 22% of younger consumers want emails compared to 68% of Boomers. Conversely, 60% of the younger respondents prefer to see social images.
Email seems to be increasingly ignored by Millennials and our younger counterparts Gen Z. Mobile phones are glued to our hands and often we feel naked without having them nearby. Along with the vast amounts of information contained inside each phone, comes a bombardment of notifications from friends, family, and social media (to name a few). It would be easy for an email to go unnoticed or ignored.
Email promotions are often lost or accidentally deleted or missed while sorting through the junk. This could reasonably explain the decrease in popularity of email promotions.
Ideally, a balance could be created with the right ratio of traditionally written content as well as video based and social content. The ratio comes down to who your target audience is, and who you want your audience to be.
The good news is that both generations want to feel a connection to the businesses they buy from. Both enjoy reading knowledge and appreciate when a company does it’s best to educate their clients, by sharing useful information within their industry or brand. The main difference I see between Baby Boomers and Millennials is the format in which they read the information.
Ideally a balance could be created with the right ratio of traditionally written content as well as video based and social content. The ratio comes down to who your target audience is, and who you want your audience to be.