You’ve heard of Baby Boomers, Gen X & Y, and Millennials. Now, a new generation is coming of age: Generation Z. Marketing across generations has become quite the topic for businesses that need to retain existing clients and find new ones.
This latest group of young adults to enter the marketplace was born in the mid to late 90’s and already contributes $44 billion to the US economy. The problem is that this new generation of consumers has grown up in a much different environment than your Baby Boomers or your Generation X segment. They also differ quite a bit from Millennials.
So as a company, can you create direct mail marketing campaigns that appeal to all generations?
The Strategy for Marketing Across Generations
There are three things that today’s consumers value regardless of age: authenticity, appeal, and relationships.
Transparency and Authenticity
Advertising is everywhere. You see it on television, billboards, the internet, computer apps, and your YouTube videos. We’ve become so callous towards advertising that many don’t even pause to look. The increase in digital advertising has served to boost the direct mail industry. What was old is suddenly ‘new.’ The younger generations may spend more time online, but while they are there many don’t ‘see’ advertisements. They’ve learned to tune them out. However, the tactile nature of direct mail is a novelty. In fact, physical mail of any kind is a novelty. It catches their attention.
The problem lies in what they see. Because the younger generation has the ability to access tons of information with the press of a button, you need to make sure your message is authentic. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. A thousand online reviews will tell them otherwise. Make sure you offer real value. Once again, a thousand competitors are just a click away.
You can catch their eye with direct mail, but you hold their attention with transparent and authentic offers.
I think we do a disservice when we talk about the younger generations ‘short attention spans.’ It’s true that they bounce quickly from one thing to another. Instead of looking at this as an inability to focus, I would state otherwise. The ability to look at all that information, discern its value and make a decision defines Generation Z. With the overabundance of information out there, they’ve had to develop this ability, or become overwhelmed.
As someone who falls in one of the ‘older’ generational categories, I remember the days of sifting through piles of mail and making snap decisions on what to read and what to toss. To catch my eye, a piece of direct mail needed an image or an offer that appealed to me. Today’s direct mail campaigns are no different. To market across generations, you need an appealing message or an image that says ‘look at me.’
The glorious thing is that there is less competition for attention AND the mailbox does not have a SPAM filter.
Create Relationships and Make Connections
It doesn’t matter who the audience is, forging a connection between you and your customer creates trust. This leads to happy clients. Your company’s message both online and offline needs to be that ‘you are there for them.’ Your business recognizes their need and can meet it. Communicate that message with emails, postcards, and integrate the two. These days, there is no offline and online marketing, there is only one all-inclusive marketing strategy.
Marketing across generations requires you to know the various quirks of your audience. However, there are more similarities than you would think. For more information on how you can use direct mail to reach Generation Z or X or Y or any of the other ‘labels,’ give us a call. We understand your audience.