A Crash Course in Marketing to 3 Generations of Consumers
According to HubSpot's 2018 State of Inbound study, 63 percent of respondents called traffic and lead generation their top marketing challenges. Every marketer wants to procure high-quality leads, but only those who properly identify their target audiences succeed.
Modern consumers demand increasingly personal experiences, so understanding what an audience wants is critical. In the beauty space where I operate, companies can even look to target audiences to help decide what their future products and formulations should look and smell like.
Typical demographic differentiators such as age, gender and disposable income help bring brands closer to their audiences, but the best marketers dig deeper. Modern tracking tools allow companies to identify their audience members’ hobbies, marital statuses, what magazines they read, and where they vacation. In skincare, we look at factors like local weather to determine which people want products to fight humidity and which live in drier climates that require deep hydration. The more tailored products are to specific audiences, the more they sell.
Talking About a Generation
Demographic members share many preferences, including how they like to be marketed to. Use these tips to connect to different generational groups and deliver more successful, more personalized marketing messages.
Known as the “Me Generation,” baby boomers believe they can outrun Father Time. Don’t deliver messages about growing older or slowing down. Instead, provide quick, simple solutions that make their lives easier without making them feel like they're being coddled.
This generation prefers to know what makes a product different and valuable, so provide that information up front. L’Oreal’s Paris Age Perfect campaign is a great example. By featuring Dame Helen Mirren and a message that enthusiastically celebrates age, L’Oreal appeals to boomers who don’t feel like they owe anyone an apology.
The last generation that grew up without the internet, Gen Xers want more action and fewer words. They outspend all other generations and aren't impressed by extravagant offers.
Grab their attention by highlighting a product's practical value. Remember, the lives of people in their late 30s to early 50s are hectic. They're balancing kids and soccer practice with bustling careers, so give them a break by providing relaxed shopping experiences. Mix up older marketing techniques (e.g., snail mail, email) with more modern practices (e.g., social media, digital ads) to meet them on their terms.
Japanese brand Shiseido recognizes the power of Gen Xers more than most. While other brands use influencers to speak to younger generations, Shiseido has adopted a global influencer program aimed specifically at Generation X. The program features lifestyle content curated specifically for Xers to enjoy and eagerly share with their peers.
Millennials are willing to experiment. They’ve seen it all, and they want to be wowed. Their phones never leave their sides, which means they respond well to online shopping options, social media and other immediate marketing techniques.
Speak to millennials by making them feel like part of something bigger than themselves. Give them a community that stands for a purpose, then center a marketing strategy around it. Explain the vision of the company to elicit an emotional response, and make millennials feel like part of the brand.
In the beauty world, NYX Cosmetics is winning the battle for millennials’ attention. Thanks to its digital-first attitude and social media clout, NYX enjoys a cult status among millennial beauty buyers.
Every generation wants something different. By understanding those preferences and tailoring messages accordingly, marketers can attract and retain the attention of their target audiences.
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Warren Becker is the chief operating officer of Cosmetic Solutions, recognized worldwide as a leader in the formulation and manufacture of turnkey private label skin care and personal care products. Cosmetic Solutions' natural, scientifically proven offerings are used by renowned skin care leaders and physicians, established cosmetic brands and up-and-coming entrepreneurs to help customers achieve results. Warren holds an MBA in International Business from the University of Miami and has partnered in the success of hundreds of health and beauty brands.