How to Market to Different Age Groups: Five Major Points to Consider

Who’s buying your products and services? Your target customers’ age range will play an influential role on the marketing strategies you primarily rely on.

A 20-something Millenial will tend to respond differently than a GenXer approaching 40 or a Baby Boomer who just celebrated a 60th birthday. You have to make sure you know how to market to different age groups.

Maybe you’re focusing primarily on one group, or reaching out to more than one, either with the same product or different product lines. You’ll need to tweak your marketing campaign, based in part on the following considerations:

1) Remain mindful of overlapping preferences between age groups

Here’s one example. Businesses sometimes assume that older Baby Boomers or senior citizens won’t respond strongly to digital marketing campaigns. They underestimate Internet use among older people. However, it’s important not to overstate age group differences and miss out on marketing opportunities.

For instance, a Pew Research Center report shows that between 2005 and 2015, the rate of social media use among seniors rose from 2% to 35%. This doesn’t mean that seniors are tweeting at the same rate as younger people, or that older and younger folks are all on the same social media platforms. But the Internet is playing an increasingly important role even among people who aren’t typically thought of as computer-savvy.

Additional overlapping preferences include the increasingly widespread use of mobile devices, making it essential that your website and emails look attractive and remain functional on screens of different sizes.

2) Speak the language of your age group

In general, Millenials are going to respond more favorably to memes and slang than Baby Boomers (as long as it doesn’t look like you’re struggling to sound “cool” or “hip”). Older customers will generally prefer a more traditional use of language and forms of humor.

Older people also tend to favor simpler, more direct visuals, while younger people may like collages or other more complex designs (that nevertheless don’t distract from your message).

3) Consider different ways of proving your authenticity

Millennials, for example, tend to be more attuned to word-of-mouth from their cohort on social media; they want to hear authentic feedback about your company from their peers. A misstep on your part, such as a lie that gets caught out and widely exposed, can cause you tremendous embarrassment and possibly endanger your prospects. (The Internet doesn’t forget!)

Gen Xers and Baby Boomers will likely spend more time researching your company and its reputation, looking up testimonials, and perhaps contacting you offline through phone calls – which means you still need to convince them you’re authentic, reliable and transparent, just in different ways than you would through social media.

In general, all age groups tend to favor companies that are informative, engaging, and attentive to their needs.

4) Pick the most appropriate channels

Though an increasing number of older people are on Facebook and Twitter, they’re less likely to be on Tumblr and Instagram, which are platforms more heavily dominated by younger folks. Younger people are also more likely to be the ones trying out the newest platforms and technologies.

You may find it cost-effective to use offline marketing materials, such as newsletters or flyers, particularly for older age groups. However, remember to include your website and social media information even on offline materials, the way you’d share your business address and telephone.

5) Always come up with your own customer profiles

It’s not enough to familiarize yourself with age group generalities. For instance, even if there are fewer Gen Xers on Tumblr than Millenials, maybe the Gen Xers you’re specifically targeting do form an unusually large presence on the site; their interests, and the kind of product or service you’re selling to them, may mean they’re going against the general trend. Always develop complex buying personas for your particular target customers. The generalities about age groups are just a starting point for you to develop your marketing strategies.

To further discuss how to market to different age groups, please contact us. We’ll help you avoid costly marketing missteps and reach out to your target customers successfully, regardless of their age.

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