Not long ago, when you were a young adult (for some, this may have been awhile ago), you may recall your grandmother commenting: “I just don’t understand you kids today!” Kid, of course, was a euphemism for young person. And, depending upon that moment, the comment could have been said with head shaking and in a disapproving manner. Well, if you can remember those instances with your grandmother, as a small-business owner, you may be having many a head-shaking moment trying to decipher the generational gaps between consumers!
Right now, we have a major shift happening in the vortex. With the tail end of boomers about to turn 50 years old, many major marketers are shifting their attention to the coming of age millennials and Generation X. The oldest millennials just crossed 30 compared to approximately 10,000 boomers who are turning 65 each day in the United States (source: U.S. census). Therefore, small-business owners can see how very attractive the younger demographics are and the appeal of the 18-49 demographics (the marketing sweet spot) that so many businesses want to capture. The problem is: Many business owners developing marketing communications to this generation may not fully understand what motivates these younger consumers to buy.
Below are a few trends which impact lifestyle choices that are affecting consumers’ behavior:
Marketing communications have changed, and therefore the way you go to market may need to change. Digital technology has impacted the way consumers behave. The introduction of mobile and social media opportunities have paved the way for businesses to establish a dialogue with consumers.
Pre-digital society communications were meant to be disruptive. Post-digital society communications must be two-way dialogue and provide relevant information. You can no longer push your product onto the consumer to buy. These consumers will decide if they want to buy your product.
Products sold by businesses must not only have value and be relevant but also have some set of core principles that the consumer feels strongly about as part of who they are. Being transparent in your business practices becomes a factor, especially with millennials.
It’s important to understand generational behavior patterns of: boomer, Generation X to millennial. The above trends amplify insights into what the consideration factors should be when putting marketing plans together. Learning what motivates these consumers will assist in driving effective communication with the different consumer groups. As an example: Younger boomers will exhibit behavioral patterns of both its core demographics and Generation X. Plus, these same boomers want to stay relevant or “cool” per se. Generation X wants to be engaged, whereas, millennials have their focus on community good. As one can see, their behavior can run the gamut. Do yourself a favor; become a student of consumer generational behavior in order to assist in generating the long-term sales you desire.
Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant with 20+ years of experience, freelance writer and author of “Elements of Buying: A How To Reference Guide on Advertising for Business Owners,” available at amazon.com. Adele was listed as Black Enterprise’s 2011 Top Execs in Marketing & Advertising. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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