In 2008, Kathleen Casey-Kirschling became the first of some 80 million Baby Boomers to retire and collect social security. Over the next 20 years, the others will follow suit, and as they move into retirement, boomers will slow in their buying habits, giving way to younger generations.
Market research suggests that these boomers, the 50 and up crowd, are the ones most loyal to brand names. This also means that with Generation X becoming the dominant buying power in America, and Generation Y not far behind, businesses will need to try harder to keep these groups coming back.
Complicating matters even more, boomers tended to have fewer children than their parents, so Generation Y, born between the late-70s and late-90s, is a smaller group than before, meaning more competition over consumers.
So what can we do?
It all boils down to the right marketing strategies for the right groups. Generation Y and Generation X grew up with more options and more brands, making them savvy and picky shoppers. Furthermore, Generation Y was the first to grow up with the Internet, meaning they are immersed in an entirely new world of information and communication habits.
Be Active and be Social
We can no longer rely on our customers to come to us. We have to make a concentrated effort to reach out and show what have to offer.
Newspaper ads and television commercials aren’t sufficient. Because Generation Y is so naturally immersed in online culture, they expect information to be readily available at the click of a mouse, or the tap of a touch screen. Social media is just one way we can reach these people.
This new generation of consumers uses the Internet not only for gathering information, but also as a primary form of communication. As businesses, we can use these platforms to communicate directly to our customer base. Not only can people give us feedback, but we can also respond and adapt, based on their needs. The Internet generation expects more of us in the form of direct, open communication, and we must be receptive and responsive to their changing needs.
Give Away [Useful] Information
The power of the Web comes from sharing information. The more useful information you share, the more your status will grow among Web users.
Don’t hoard what you know, and don’t let your Web content go stale; share what advice or expertise you have to offer. New and unique information that is updated often will make you stand out from others who simply put up a bland, static website.
Secure Your Presence on the Web
Building a website is important for promoting your business, but you have to make sure your brand is easy to find. Optimize your visibility on popular search engines such as Google and Bing.
Nowadays, if a Gen Yer needs a pipe fixed, he or she is likely to type something like “Dallas plumbers” into Google, instead of flipping through the yellow pages. You can imagine how many plumbers there are in Dallas, and If you want to be the top listing, make sure to diversify your Web presence.
Blog, tweet, launch a Facebook Page and make sure you are listed under as many online directories as possible. You want to stand out and show potential patrons that you, too, are Web-savvy and able to adapt to new technologies.
The Most Important Thing…
There are so many possibilities and opportunities out there waiting for your business or organization. The most important thing to remember is that you need to be flexible.
The Internet and its users are constantly evolving, and we have to keep the pace up in order to stay on top. Every day, I talk with clients and prospects about the importance of being flexible and trying out new ways to reach your target audience. It may involve traditional techniques, and it may require an emphasis on new media.
Don’t be afraid to see what works for your business or industry. As I always say, “Exposure = Awareness = Sales.”