As a marketer, business owner or retailer it is easy to be caught up in the task of trying to please every generation. Hashtags for the Gen Z’ers, some references to 90’s childhood for the millennials and we can’t forget some good old nostalgia for the boomers.
You’re trying to keep things tech-led for the youngsters while also going out of your way to accommodate for the not so tech-literate older generation. Trying to please everyone is exhausting and quite frankly…who the hell has time for that!
I once interviewed a very wise man by the name of Andre Eikmeier, who is the CEO of wine retailer Vinomofo. (You can read Part 1 and Part 2 of the interview here.) Andre, like many others, was sick of trying to cater to such a large audience….so he didn’t!
“This is a wine site for 35-year-olds and we’re not going to try to soften in for 60-year-olds or hip it up for 25-year-olds. What we found is 60-years-olds are in a mid-life crisis anyway and they all think they’re 30-year-olds, and 25-year-olds buying wine liked to think they were in their thirties,” quoted Eikmeier.
Moral of the story, once you stop trying to please everyone you’ll find that being razor focused with your demographic will actually include a pretty large audience!
The truth is most people (not all) have a lot in common with millennials (as much as you don’t want to admit it). People mimic the behaviors of Millennials online. Babyboomers learned their online behavior from their children (Millennials) and Generation Z were likely first introduced to the internet through an older Millennial sibling or teacher.
Learning to treat everyone like a millennial online will stop you spreading your content creation and marketing resources too thin, and free up hours of your valuable time!
So What Are the Values We Share?
We Care for the Environment
In the 1960’s people who petitioned for environmental change were often lumped into the same group as deadlocked, bohemian clothed, hairy arm-pit hippies. For the most part, people didn’t want to be likened to this stereotype and so environmental issues were a tiny little speck on the political agenda. If it’s not on the consumer’s mind, then it most certainly won’t be on a marketers mind. Today is different! Caring about the environment is hip! And it’s not just millennials leading this charge. We are continually seeing people turn away from brands who fail to consider the environmental impact of their product, from all generations!
Let’s take a look at coffee pod machines. When they first hit the market they were extremely popular, that’s until the consumer had a lightbulb moment, ‘Surely all of these one-use plastic pods couldn’t be very good for the environment?’. And just like that, they came crashing down, even being banned in one German city. From the ashes of the plastic pod, we saw the race to design the first fully compostable coffee pod with many of the big names including Nespresso and Keurig investing a great deal of money in the endeavor. My mum will be proud to notify me of news like this and has really jumped on the eco-friendly train.
Not Tricked Easily
You may still get the odd 60-year-old with the old morning show ‘buy one get one free’ infomercial garbage (someone’s paying those actors to fake smile while demonstrating the latest “get fit fast” ab-shredder 3000), but for the most part, we ain’t no fools. The rise of the internet has allowed consumers to compare, communicate and completely rip a brand to shreds like never before. Retailers can no longer expect us to act like a heard of sheep who fall for valueless offers and deceiving ‘discounts’. You don’t need to be a millennial to see straight through the trickery, for the most part, we have all got a great deal smarter.
Facebook – The Generationless Platform
You may remember the statistic from Part 1 of the series ‘Facebook is the only social media platform where non-millennial users outweigh the millennials.’ Well if you are running around like a headless chook trying to find each audience on a different platform then calm down, and let’s start with Facebook.
Although the younger demographics are beginning to turn away from Facebook there is still a great generation spread on the platform. You will also be surprised by the generation density on platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.
Brand Loyalty Isn’t Dead
Although, statistics show that millennials hold less brand loyalty than our predecessors it doesn’t mean we aren’t loyal at all. We can hold loyalty like our parents, but it’s loyalty for the right reasons, not blind. Finding brand advocates (and working to change the opinions of your detractors) is important across all of the generations. You should work to build a strong identity that people can resonate with and trust.
3 Generational Myths
- Social Media is only for younger audiences
Wrong!! The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is, in fact, adults over the age of 65. Facebook reports that the older generation is turning to Facebook in order to reconnect with friends and family and keep tabs on what they are up to. This is good news for marketers and advertisers alike as this generation has a highly disposable income as they are no longer required to financially support children and are often retired.
2. Influencers are only for ‘young’ people
Wrong again!! Influencer marketing is the word on everyone’s lips in 2017. What is it? Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using trusted social media personalities to drive your brand’s message to the larger market.
So forget your money-wasting celebrity endorsements. Studies have proven that an increasingly large majority of people (especially Gen Z and Millennials) trust the opinion of an Influencer before that of a celebrity. A study by Defy Media found that 63% of respondents aged between 13-24 said that they would try a brand or a product recommended by a YouTube content creator, whereas only 48% mentioned the same about a movie or TV star.
3. “The Generations are all so different”
Ok, sorta true! We are different people who have different values and beliefs but we are not totally alien from each other. Research conducted by the Centre for Creative Leadership shows that many of our core values are similar, if not the same, across the generations.
“They want roughly the same things regardless of when they were born: to be given interesting work to do, to be rewarded on the basis of their contributions and to be given the chance to work hard and get ahead.”
Don’t confuse this with me telling you to take a blanket approach. Understanding the generations have plenty of similarities is different from considering us a pack of consumer-zombies, not capable of thinking our own thoughts. In Part 3 of the series, I will further explore our similarities by introducing you to the Connected Generation. Keep your eyes peeled and I’ll be sliding into inbox in a few days!