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Marketing by Generation: Personalizing for Each Age Group

Personalized marketing hinges on meeting the consumer where they are at any given point. While segmentation gets you closer to individualization, what’s something marketers can do to help personalize the experience before capturing in-depth profile data?

Market by generation.

Each generation has certain likes and dislikes when it comes to digital marketing. Of course, there are individuals within each generation who may prefer different messaging than their generation would suggest, but until that data is collected, using generational data and preferences could help select marketing techniques that best appeal to a brand’s customers.

Let’s dig into some of the ways you can adapt your marketing by generation for greater personalization.

What’s (Your) Age Again?

Gen Z: The Filter Generation

Making up about 40% of the total population, Gen Z (ages 7-22), also known as Zoomers, are pros when it comes to determining what information is most important to them and what information is not. They’re filtering wizards—not only because of their Snapchat skills, but also because they can easily filter out noise to find the most useful content.

However, while they are experts at ignoring a high amount of digital content, they also rely on it: 58% of those in Gen Z say they start to feel uncomfortable if they’re without an internet connection for more than four hours.

So, how does a brand stand out as useful or important to this hyper-critical, yet incredibly online generation? Showcase value upfront.

Gen Z is not only proficient in filtering through information, but also brands in general. They can easily filter out brands that don’t align with their personal values and beliefs. A majority (72%) of Zoomers are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes.

In this email from Package Free, a brand focused on curating waste-free products, its cause is highlighted in the subhead, “How She Reduced Her Waste to Zero and Launched a Movement.” It’s concise, clear, and highlights a driving mission of the company: zero waste. Because this email is from the company’s Founder and CEO, it shows the company cares about this cause at its core. It’s authentic—a trait Gen Z holds in high regard. 

Package Free Marketing by Generation

Attract Gen Z audiences by showcasing your values in an authentic manner. Source: ReallyGoodEmails

To appeal to Gen Z with your marketing tactics, consider succinct, clear messaging that highlights your company’s values upfront. Don’t bury the lede.

Millennials: The Review Generation

As the largest generation, Millennials (ages 23-38) have the most purchasing power. However, because they were constantly exposed to emerging technologies, they are more equipped to use a variety of tools to find the best deal

The best deal, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest price. It means the best quality and the best price. As a result of the desire to find high-quality products at reasonable prices, Millennials tend to rely heavily on peer reviews and ratings. In fact, 89% of users aged 18-34 trust online reviews. Not only that, but 62% of the same age group have read reviews on a mobile device.

The challenge then lies in being able to share user reviews with Millennials via multiple channels, even those that may lend themselves better to shorter messages.

This email from Lush, a cosmetics retailer, combines abandoned cart messaging with user reviews to attract shoppers. The email first reminds the reader of the item they abandoned, then follows this with a product review to substantiate their initial browsing decisions.

Marketing for Generation Y Through Reviews

Third-party reviews are seen as more valuable and trustworthy than a lot of marketing. Source: Lush

But this can be taken one step further.

When marketing by generation to reach Millennials, consider adding reviews to your mobile abandonment messaging. A push notification saying, “See what others are saying about the items you browsed,” coupled with the image of the abandoned item keeps users engaged and ensures the content relevant to them is reaching them no matter the device. 

Gen X: The Deal Appeal Generation

While Gen X (ages 39-54) may be the smallest generation, they certainly cannot be ignored. According to Forbes, “Roughly half of Gen Xers are financially supporting both a parent and a child at the same time, making financial decisions that can affect all three generations.”

Gen X sits in the hot spot between traditional marketing and more technologically advanced tactics where their unique upbringing makes them fond of one particular strategy: coupons. In a study from InnoMedia, NuStats, and Vertis, 68% of Gen Xers have used coupons they were sent in the mail.

Raised on newspaper clippings and magazine tear-outs, there is a massive amount of deal appeal with this generation. 

As technology has evolved, however, Gen X—the highest concentration of Facebook users—has begun to look outside of the mailbox for product deals and information.

In this Facebook offer ad from apparel company Hygge Gear, there’s a coupon code directly in the copy, and a link to shop right from the ad. Hygge meets Gen Xers where they are (on Facebook) and offers them what they want (coupons). 

Marketing For Generation X Through Facebook

Reach your customers where they’re at to make it easier for them to engage with your brand. Source: Hootsuite

To connect with Gen X, be sure to offer coupons that, when clicked, offer a clear path-to-purchase for the customer. Facebook offer ads are especially effective for this generation, but make sure the customer experience is simple and streamlined.

Baby Boomers: The Customer Service Generation

Baby Boomers (ages 55-73) are assumed by many as not being as tech-savvy as their younger counterparts. But, with the most disposable income, an increase in online shopping activity, and dedicated brand loyalty, marketers can’t afford to overlook this generation. According to Wordstream, “The over-50 crowd accounts for 50% of all consumer expenditures, but marketers are only spending 10% of [their] budgets on them.”

Brand loyalty is the key for Baby Boomers. Consumers in this generation are fond of the brands they grew up with—the tried and true. What’s more, they appreciate customer service and would rather talk to a person than a chatbot: 62% of Baby Boomers believe chatbots are unable to answer complex questions. A good customer service experience helps fuel brand loyalty with this generation.

In this email from fitness tracker Whoop, a Product Expert named Davis sends a personalized note to the customer as part of Whoop’s welcome campaign. The email puts a name—and face—to the user’s experience with the brand, solidifying the fact that there is an actual person connecting with the customer. The brand reassures the customer within the first few messages that their purchase wasn’t overlooked and that, should they need it, help is available to them. 

Welcome Campaign Whoop

Personalization goes both ways. Let users know there’s a person communicating with them. Source: Whoop

When speaking to a Baby Boomer audience, be sure you’re speaking from the perspective of a real person. Most generations won’t be receptive to obvious automated messaging from an amorphous brand, but Baby Boomers, in particular, are looking for a personal touch.

Marketing for All Generations

Everyone is ultimately looking for a great customer experience when they shop, but the definition of “a great customer experience” can differ between generations.

While Zoomers and Millennials may be more mobile-friendly, their values are intrinsically different. Gen Z is more focused on clear social causes while Millennials value what their fellow consumers think. Gen X and Baby Boomers both value a good deal, but Gen X prefers coupons while Baby Boomers prioritize excellent customer service.

Using the tactics laid out above, you are opening the doors for a conversation with your users, allowing them to express their preferred messaging channels and content. Within each generation, there will be nuances, but marketing to your target audience’s generation ensures your customers will have access to a personalized customer experience.

To learn more about how to create a memorable customer experience for every generation, download our guide “The Six Principles of Building a Memorable Customer Experience”

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