As a businessperson, you have already established your skills as a “people person” and a “problem-solver.” But to be a truly successful entrepreneur, you have to be a psychologist. And your patients are your customers.
It is your job to find out what makes each of your customers tick as a whole. You have to determine how to group your customer base by certain categories and understand how you successfully meet each group’s needs. One common grouping of customers is by generations, which all have more or less predictable tastes.
Here are a few tips for marketing to each generation.
1. Do your research.
This is the most important part if you would like to successfully market to customers of different generations. Research includes both primary and secondary research. For example, you could start a focus group, and have several of each generation—baby boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y—represented. Develop surveys to find out about personal tastes, income levels, aspirations, and hobbies. You can conduct secondary research by reading cultural studies of each generation. One good example is a book entitled “Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America’s Largest, Wealthiest, and Most Influential Group.”
2. Create marketing strategies for products that do double duty.
What do I mean by “double duty?” Well, there will be instances in which your business sells only one or two products or services, and you want them to appeal to as wide of a customer base as possible. As such, you will want your marketing campaign to specifically target several generations at once while still keeping a branding strategy that is cohesive. A good example of this is type of marketing strategy is Redhook Beer’s recent rebranding campaign, in which their product appeals both to lay consumers and beer experts.
3. Develop products or services that appeal to each generation.
On the other hand, if you are in the business of rendering several products and services, do plenty of research to create different items that match each generations tastes. This is where plenty of insider scoops through surveys and interviews come in handy.
4. Find out where each generation goes to read/watch media or make purchases.
Even if you have the best branding strategy, if you don’t know where your customers are going when they are exposed to marketing and advertising, then you won’t go very far. Again, research is very important in figuring out, where precisely, different generations go to get their information. For Gen Xers and Yers, a successful marketing strategy will be carried out online. On the other hand, however, baby boomers may be more easily accessible in print publications or specific websites that appeal to their tastes.
5. Don’t reduce your customer to just one categorization.
Of course, in your attempts to really “understand” each generation, don’t forget that your customer cannot be reduced to their generation, nor can they be reduced by any one criterion. Look at different ways to categorize your customers, and, above all, always be connected with as many of your customers as you can on a personal level.