This one is targeted at everyone, but especially baby boomers. I mean gen Xers. I mean millennials. I mean generation Z.
Generational marketing is bullshit and I’m making it my personal mission to call everyone out who uses it. For example, here’s an article by Deep Patel, who I greatly admire, but who kinda messed up: 5 Tips for Marketing to Gen Z. How did he mess up? His five tips for marketing to gen Z are really just five tips for marketing to anyone. Let customers know what you’re good at, actually talk to them, etc.- this has nothing to do with when your clients were born, it’s just good to do anyway.
WebpageFX is with me on this. They talk about generational marketing being way too general for you to make any good assumptions, poorly defined generations, and the fact that such things aren’t very helpful when you’re trying to continuously market to your existing clients. They recommend looking at a number of variables, including age, but also location, income, etc.- duh.
I’m not into over-analyzing data, but the truth is that straight generational marketing is a lazy way of segmenting clients. We tend to classify things and say “oh, this person is like this, so they’re all like this,” and that can be useful in new situations. Long-term, the better solution is to develop a relationship with someone and find others like them who believe in what you believe.
Let’s say 60% of millennials and 20% of baby boomers are vegan (I just made this up). Generational marketing says to market your vegan product to all millennials, because it’s better to waste 40% of your budget than to waste 80% of it.
Authentic marketing says to market to vegans of any age who you can form a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with. That might require finding data on who’s a vegan (and that can be qualitative data- just talking to people), so it’s a lot more work. But you’re wasting 0% of your budget marketing to people who will never, ever become your client, and you’re not constantly re-qualifying the same people in the process.
So, if you want to do it right, here are the three easy steps:
- Find out who you can form a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with. Who are your clients? Don’t just tell me they’re 18-24. Are they 18-24 and don’t drive? Is their age relevant, or are you overlooking others that share the same traits and beliefs?
- If they believe in your product, get them involved or keep trying
- If they don’t believe in your product, never talk to them again (at least as far as marketing goes)