How to Market to Different Generations

Approaches need to be tailored for the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers, rather than being mass marketing messages.

If you say that everyone is in your target market, you imply that your service or product applies to no one in particular. Defining a target market is important because everyone is in a unique life stage that will affect their buying process. Generational marketing is when you market to a specific generation of people based on the preferences, attitudes and upbringings that distinguish them from other groups. This approach means tailoring customized messages for specific age groups instead of sending mass marketing messages. The Silent Generation refers to people born between 1925 and 1945. The Baby Boomer generation refers to people born between 1946 and 1964. More babies were born in 1946, the year after World War II ended, than ever before: 3.4 million. That is 20% more babies than in 1945. The Silent Generation as Clients Characteristics of the Silent Generation include being technologically challenged, staying loyal to employers, using traditional methods and respecting authority and patriotism. More than half of the Silent Generation was married, and fewer women worked outside the home than do so today. Many of them did not have a bachelor's degree. This generation witnessed the creation of Social Security and Medicare. Members of this generation were brought up on the value of hard work and diligent saving. Marketing to the Silent Generation means earning their trust and providing them with value. The Silent Generation lean toward face-to-face communication. It is important to clearly communicate information and explain services or products you provide. With this generation, agents should be prepared to answer questions in person and provide hard copies of forms or reports. When discussing financial history, it is important to approach questions without judgment. As time passes, it is imperative that you notice any cognitive changes in your clients. See also: The Unique Skills in Each Generation   When you are meeting with clients from the Silent Generation, it is respectful to meet them in the lobby or reception area and walk with them to your office or meeting room. You should prepare the meeting room to be handicap-accessible, such as with adjustable chairs and wheelchair-accessible tables. Many in this generation have physical disabilities. Some clients will have hearing disabilities, and reducing extraneous noise will make the meeting easier for them and for you. If you will be discussing end-of-life planning, having family members present is usually a good idea. Many from this generation are worried about the economic challenges their children and grandchildren are facing and wonder why success has become much more difficult for them. Some members of this generation set up college trust funds for their grandkids, and some even assumed formal custody of them. The Baby Boomer Generation as Clients Baby Boomers are in the over-50 age group. They have been considered the "me" generation, characterized as having individualist attitudes. This group of men and women were the first TV generation. Baby Boomers were also the first generation where divorce was socially tolerated. This generation has grown up through the phases of getting married, forming families, raising kids and settling in careers. Some are  now grandparents. This generation is viewing the world around them in an experienced way. To reach this generation effectively through marketing, you will need to try to show you understand their upbringing and values. If you are looking to form a stronger relationship with your Baby Boomer clients, you will want to be as respectful as possible. Never refer to a Baby Boomer as old; it disregards the way the generation is redefining what growing old means. When marketing to these people, do not assume their age will hold them back. Many Baby Boomers are looking forward to retirement adventures like cruises, dinner parties, sky diving and other means of experiencing the world around them. This is not the generation to retire so they can sit at home at watch TV all day. When working with Baby Boomer clients, it is important that you keep your promises. This should go without saying; keeping your promises should be a priority with all of your clients. This is how you build and maintain trust between your business and your clients. Providing exceptional customer service is vital if you want to win over the Baby Boomer clients. This generation loves one-on-one interactions in person, over the phone or through online live chats. User-friendly websites can add to the customer service experience. Many Baby Boomers want to find the answers to their questions easily on their own. Baby Boomers are tech-savvy individuals, this age group is actually the fastest-growing demographic online. Baby Boomers spend more time per week online than they spend watching TV. Creating and posting informative sources about your products or services online is just as important as explaining the benefits of the offerings your company provides. The internet is one of the most important information sources for Baby Boomers when they make purchasing decisions. A website needs to be easy for Baby Boomers to use to purchase products, and marketing materials must include calls to action directing them to buy now. Baby Boomers can purchase Christmas gifts online from the comfort of their home; they couldn't do this before, and, now that they can, they love it. Incorporate social media into your digital marketing. Now that moms and dads are on Facebook, the younger generation is not as interested in being on these social sites. This is, however, a great place to reach Baby Boomers. Statistics show that Baby Boomers are the fastest-growing age on Facebook, with an 80% surge in users between 2010 and 2014. The Importance of Generational Marketing Don't assume that all Baby Boomers or all of the members of the Silent Generation are the same. No group of people can or should be stereotyped. Marital status, income, net worth, life experience, health and age are things that affect how people respond to marketing messages. It is your job to understand this, act accordingly and reach clients in the moments that matter with a message that will create a connection. See also: How to Attract the Next Generation   Whether you are working with a Baby Boomer or a member of the Silent Generation, every message should be tailored to connect with each individual consumers. You will find connecting with clients easier when you know what they consider to be respectful. Respecting your clients, listening to their needs and giving them the best solution for their situation will lead you into the ideal client-agent relationship you desire.

Jagger Esch

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Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the president and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ, a senior healthcare learning resource center.


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