Generating Leads in Those Generation Gaps?

The generations within your target market are known by different names. Among them, you’ll find Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980) and Millennials (born 1981-2000). Within these age breakdowns, it seems there’s also a little breakdown in their ability to communicate.

Oh, they may still speak basically the same language. It’s just that the oldsters get confused about apps and uploads, and they don’t know why you would text someone when you can just call and ask the same question. And the youngsters don’t understand why anyone would want to read a newspaper that’s thrown in the driveway – or why you would walk across the room to use a desktop computer for research when your smartphone is in your hand.

Even so, within all the shifts in how the generations approach consumer shopping and communication, there are some clear commonalities. For example, most people within these generations prefer to live in homes with climate control, indoor plumbing and electrical service. While we can’t cite extensive research for that little factoid, we’re going to stick by the claim – until proven otherwise.

Still, the differences in the consumers in the consumer marketplace are important to take into account. For starters, Baby Boomers might still refer to the Yellow Pages. Millennials, rarely, if ever. Generation X, possibly if there’s no Wi-Fi.

Millennial Methods

Studies by marketing consultancy Brand Keys show that Millennials have higher customer expectations than the other two categories. Not only that, emotional values play a greater role in Millennial decision-making. They connect with you in part because of your culture.

Millennials have been described as “impatient.” That’s the high-expectations mindset. “Expressive.” They have lots of opinions and love to share them. Millennials are also, obviously, very digital. Neilson says over 85% have a smartphone. Their impatient expressions are headed to social media in a nanosecond.

Millennials like innovation. A Lab42 study found that 45% of Millennials buy first-generation products compared to 6% of Baby Boomers. And they’re drawn to companies that connect with a cause.

Messaging Across Generations

As these up-and-coming homeowners begin to enter your market, your marketing will need to shift to reach them with the right message. Fortunately, you lose nothing with other generations by providing what the next one is seeking – who faults excellent service that meets high expectations? Or company cultures that support community causes? Or mobile-ready websites and other digital options? Or email that is optimized for smartphones? Even when you let the elders call you on the phone or write a check for services rendered?

Social media ads do tend to work for Millennials – 46% surveyed said social media ads are extremely/somewhat influential in getting them to begin research. But they’re not the only ones online. Neustar research shows that consumers over 55 are increasing their clicks on mobile ads. Also, 32% of Americans aged 55+ research products online with smartphones. And MarketingSherpa research shows that Americans 55-64 prefer email over any other channel when communicating with companies. 

And, importantly, mobile is not the only device used to begin a consumer research. Two-thirds (67%) of Millennials and 64% of Boomers have used television and radio to start a search, and 58% of Millennials and 59% of Boomers have said newspapers/magazines were instrumental in starting their search. Furthermore, 51% of Millennials and 57% of Boomers have said direct mail started their search.

Integrate Online and Offline. And all of these factors show more and more that an integrated marketing strategy that covers online and traditional media for generating leads is the best approach for reaching across the generations.


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