How to sell to all generations
Marketing has come a long way from one-size-fits-all, cross-generational campaigns.
These days, marketers have a wealth of tools at their disposal to help reach consumers. But this doesn’t mean that all tools work equally well or even work equally for each of your target consumer segments.
Take age, for example. Messaging that resonates with Gen Z and the channels they use will likely differ from the messaging and channels that work best for Boomers.
Think about it: you wouldn’t talk to your grandparents in the same way you’d talk to your friends. So how can you ensure that you effectively market to all generations?
This piece will explore the subtle generational differences that exist, how you can better tailor your marketing to successfully communicate with each different generation, and the tools that will help you with this process.
Marketing to Boomers
1. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking they’re not shopping online
Boomers didn’t grow up glued to screens — but that’s not to say they aren’t shopping online.
Take eCommerce, for example. While some marketers might naively believe Boomers are brick-and-mortar-only consumers, this isn’t true — research conducted by Visa found that around 40% of all spending amongst customers who fall into the Boomer category was conducted online.
This is backed up by a Deloitte study showing that 53% of Boomers actually prefer online shopping rather than shopping in physical stores.
The key takeaway is to remember that your online marketing strategies also apply to Boomers.
2. Use social media (especially Facebook)
Therefore, it’s important to devise — and regularly update — your Facebook page. You might’ve ditched this in favor of pithy Instagram stories or catchy TikTok videos, but if you want to target Boomers, don’t forget about Facebook.
3. Ditch the slang
Generally speaking, Boomers aren’t very well versed in slang. You’ll know that if an elderly relative has ever signed off a text with “LOL” (mistakenly believing it means lots of love).
Adopt clear and concise language when marketing to Boomers. You don’t have to make your copy dull, but steer clear of slang-heavy, jargon-filled headlines.
4. Have a call strategy
Boomers grew up in an era where customer service was either face-to-face or over the phone. Therefore, if they can’t come into your store, they’ll likely ring up your business.
This means that you need a call strategy. You have to make sure you can effectively track who called and when — that’s where Call Tracking can help. What’s more, Conversation Intelligence will automatically transcribe all calls, ensuring no request ever flies under the radar by picking out all keywords and phrases from a conversation.
Marketing to Gen Xers
1. Focus messaging on quality, not hype — be authentic
Certain studies suggest that Generation X may well be the “most down to earth” of all the generations. They look for authenticity and sincerity in the brands they do business with, preferring to spend money on companies they believe to be trustworthy.
What’s more, they’ve been around the block long enough to know pushy sales tactics when they see them. Don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes. Communicate clearly and honestly at all times.
2. Embrace an omnichannel approach
Gen X’s media consumption habits sit somewhere in between that of Boomers and Millennials. In other words, they regularly engage with both new and traditional media — meaning you can reach them on nearly all channels.
But in order to make the most out of this, you have to be comfortable stitching together a wide variety of data sources (both online and offline).
Consider embracing multi-touch marketing. With CallRail’s Lead Center, you have a way to capture, integrate, and cross-reference online and offline touchpoints to power multi-touch attribution.
Use the insights this reveals to identify which strategies work best for Gen Xers before optimizing your marketing strategy accordingly.
3. Once you earn their trust, you’ll have their loyalty
Studies suggest that Gen Xers are more loyal than their Millennial or Gen Z counterparts. A reported 67% of Gen Xers will consistently buy a product they like time and time again.
Consider introducing loyalty programs, showing that you care about your Gen X customers by recognizing and rewarding their loyalty.
If you do, you’ll turn them into lifelong customers.
4. Convenience is king
For many Gen Xers, life is a constant rush. Their professional and personal lives are hurtling along at full tilt, meaning that above all else, they yearn for convenience.
If you can make their lives easier, they’ll flock to your brand. This applies to both your products themselves and your customer service.
Train up your customer-facing reps to make them as helpful as possible. Create a seamless end-to-end checkout process. Leverage the power of Form Tracking and set up automated SMS responses to form fills. Ensure that no request flies under the radar and that customer service requests are swiftly dealt with. Alternatively, let them know that you’ve received their message, and the relevant employee will get back in touch as soon as possible to help answer their query.
Form Tracking is quick and simple to set up, yet will have a truly transformative impact on your customer service — and on how Gen Xers perceive your brand.
Marketing to Millennials
1. Provide a wide range of contact channels (and prioritize self-service options)
Did you know that 80% of millennials report that customer service phone calls are “highly inconvenient”? Or that 41% want more options for contacting customer service, with 48% actively looking to solve problems on their own?
When marketing to Millennials, make sure to prioritize self-service. The so-called “anxious generation” would much rather think through their queries on their own time, crafting the ideal message, rather than be forced to speak to a rep over the phone.
Businesses need to offer various contact solutions: email, SMS, forms, social media, and calls (though this is likely the least popular option for Millennials). Not only that, but they need a way to integrate all this data into one easy hub — providing a one-stop-shop listing every individual customer’s interactions with your brand to date.
That’s where Lead Center comes in. It gives you an all-in-one communications hub where you can seamlessly monitor all previous interactions and respond to each one of your customers — no matter which channel they used to interact with you or when they got in touch.
2. Promote word-of-mouth and build loyal tribes
89% of Millennials actively trust recommendations they hear from friends and family more than claims made by brands themselves.
Given that 90% of all Millennials are on social media, this represents the perfect channel to build a loyal tribe. Why spend $20 acquiring a new customer if word-of-mouth can acquire them for free?
Referral programs will be especially effective. Incentivize word-of-mouth brand advocacy, and you’ll soon be drowning in new leads.
3. Consider working with influencers
Interestingly, Millennials extend their trust beyond friends and family alone.
Influencers have the power to transform your brand. Consider the fact that influencer marketing supposedly has an 11X greater ROI than traditional digital marketing channels.
Building an authentic online community might come off as a tad disingenuous if it’s spearheaded by your company’s own social media accounts. But if it’s driven by a well-loved, popular influencer, then your brand no longer comes across as overly self-promoting. Instead, followers are happy to flock to your website and purchase your products.
A reported 40% of Millennials believe influencers understand them better than their own friends do. Use the wide-scale trust that influencers garner to your brand’s advantage.
4. Above all else, entertain!
Millennials have grown up in an era where they may see up to 10,000 ads per day. Your run-of-the-mill copy and design won’t cut through the noise. So what will?
It’s been reported that humor alone drives a 50% uplift in brand familiarity amongst Millennials. When asked to list their favorite ads, Millennials generally choose those that use humor as their main hook.
If you’re marketing to Millennials, ditch the serious exterior that you’d adopt for Boomers and GenXers — unleash your funny side. You might not convert them at that moment, but you’ll be more likely to make a long-lasting impression.
Marketing to Gen Zers
1. Prioritize phone-based marketing
Gen Z is the smartphone-first generation, with approximately 75% actively preferring to use their smartphones over computers or other devices.
Therefore, your company needs to be mobile-first in all that it does.
Optimize your website designs accordingly. Have a strong social media presence. Make sure to include Apple and Google Pay checkout options. Be aware of the power of text/SMS message marketing (with this being far more successful amongst Gen Z than any other generation).
Provide Gen Zers with everything they need to research, purchase, and get in touch with your brand, all from the palm of their hand.
2. Have a purpose
Generation Z is arguably more socially conscious — and active — than any other previous generation.
As such, they flock to companies that make it their mission to make the world a better place, with 92% of Gen Z consumers wanting to purchase from companies with a strong purpose.
What’s more, they’re 3X more likely to believe that companies’ ultimate purpose should be to help society at large — rather than simply to turn a profit.
When marketing to Gen Zers, promote your mission. Speak about the impact that your company has — not the products that it sells. Show them the good work you’re doing, and they’ll reward you in spades.
3. Provide personalized experiences
Gen Z has grown up in the age where consumer experience is king. In fact, 76% of Gen Z consumers want brands to respond to them and implement their feedback.
They don’t want to be served an experience — they want to help create it.
However, not all Gen Zers are the same, hence the rise in personalization. A reported 41% of Gen Z shoppers will provide their personal data in return for a personalized experience.
You, therefore, need a way to store everything you know about each Gen Z consumer before using this to shape your marketing. With Lead Center, you’ll be able to dive into each individual’s interactions with your company up until that moment — revealing who they are, what they like, dislike, and are looking for.
4. Don’t forget about stores!
Gen Z might be mobile-first, but that doesn’t mean they’re mobile-only.
Surprisingly, surveys have found that Gen Z prefers to shop in-store more than any other generation. Around 53% of Gen Z consumers head into retail stores at least once a week, with 66% stating this is because they like to physically hold and try on products before purchasing.
While social media might be the tool of choice for product and brand discovery, it’s not the only method Gen Z shoppers rely on when making purchasing decisions.
To aid personalization efforts going forward, consider implementing point-of-sale (POS) surveys/feedback forms to gain crucial insights into each of your Gen Z consumers. Or, use Beacon technology to send timely reminders and discounts to Gen Z shoppers via mobile as they walk through the door — using what you know about their online habits to inform their offline, in-store experience.
Generational marketing made easy
Each generation responds to different marketing strategies, channels, messaging, and cues. So how can you serve all these preferences at once?
By implementing CallRail’s end-to-end suite of marketing products.
A platform like CallRail makes generational marketing easier than ever before. With features like Call Tracking and Conversation Intelligence, you can provide next-level customer service to older consumers (like Boomers) that prefer phone-based interactions.
Lastly, maximize the value of your GenZ-targeted text message marketing strategy by sending texts using call tracking numbers — meaning you can easily stay on top of all text interactions in Lead Center. And if you’re ever out on the go but want to respond to a customer’s query, use the CallRail mobile app to send texts from the palm of your hand.
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