The Internet has dramatically changed the way businesses communicate with their target audiences. As new social networks continue to pop up, businesses must actively stay on top of their game to not be left in the dust. With this considered, businesses must recognize that the Internet is not a cover-all strategy; it is just as important to include a variety of other marketing tactics into the marketing mix.
I define generational marketing as crafting a marketing strategy to ensure that it incorporates the preferred communication methods and preferences of the specific targeted product. Businesses must always determine whothis target audience is, considering the four generations: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y.
With their ease and availability, almost everyone today has access to a personal computer, a smart phone, and of course, an email address. However, not all individuals are using these tools in the same manner. Traditionalists and Baby Boomer’s share many similarities in terms of their preferred methods of communication. Keeping in mind the generational brackets are general trends (not to be interpreted in black and white), members of these two generations are universally much less tech savvy than younger generations. Moreover, Traditionalists and Baby Boomers both tend to prefer personal communication and relationship building in their purchasing experiences, especially with larger purchases, such as buying a car. They would rather shake hands with a sales representative, align themselves with a brand or company, and return to the same company for future purchases.
On the contrary, the Gen X and Gen Y demographics see it differently. These generations are actually quite different from one another in their consumer behavior. However, traits they share are increased skepticism and decreased brand loyalty. For both generations, especially Gen Y, it is all about convenience. Whether it is browsing mobile shopping sites, waiting for a Groupon for 50% off, or utilizing the nearly instantaneous purchasing experience of Amazon Prime, younger generations are quite comfortable switching retailers. Younger generations have no problem bypassing an actual storefront and salesperson in favor of an online shopping experience. As long as these individuals know they are getting a great price from a reliable company, they are on board.
For businesses and marketers, it is important to know who is buying the product. For instance, if one is selling a product intended for use by younger generations, then the strategy must focus on reaching these individuals where they spend most of their time: online. If a business is selling a product and their target audience includes older generations, they must recognize the importance of traditional marketing strategies, such as meeting in-person, telephone communication, marketing collateral, etc.
Despite how the Internet has taken over many aspects of our daily lives (for better or for worse), it is important to use a mix of personal communication and internet marketing to reach your generational marketing goals. As I mentioned, generational groups are by no means black and white, and there are typically going to be exceptions to the rule. One thing is certain, older generations are not spending nearly as much time online shopping, browsing e-blasts, or building their new car with the click of their mouse. That kind of new-age amusement is usually saved for those in younger generations.