Mastering Multigenerational Marketing This Holiday Season
It’s that time of year again.
Consumers will soon embark on their holiday shopping journeys, and we all know that they have high expectations for what they will find this year. They will also look for a great customer service experience, whether they are shopping on or offline.
However, each of the different generations that your products might appeal to have slightly different expectations, preferences and behaviors. Understanding those differences – and being willing to take them into consideration this season, could really boost your bottom line while also building your brand.
With this in mind here’s a look at how best to serve a multigenerational customer base this holiday season (and beyond).
Understanding Who’s Who
Not sure who’s a Gen X versus a millennial? Or what a silent is? Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Gen Z minors: Born after 2000
- Gen Z adults: Born 1994–2000
- Millennials: Born 1983–1993
- Gen X: Born 1964–1982
- Boomers: Born 1943–1963
- Silent: Born before 1943
Now that you have a better understanding of where each of your potential customers fall on the generational timeline let’s look at what each of them, according to research undertaken by several different sources prefers when they shop.
Of all the current generations, those who fall into the Gen Z demographic spend the most time on their phone and use them to shop online more than anyone else does. Having grown up with technology they are more likely to complete more of their holiday shopping online.
Gen Z looks for personalized digital connections though. To reach and appeal to them your store should focus on a customer service experience that is more personalized throughout the whole customer journey, from the holiday emails you will soon send out to product suggestions as they browse and social connections via their preferred channels including Instagram and Snapchat.
This group spends more online than other generations and enjoys the shipping convenience. In fact, they’re the only generation that shops in-store and online equally. Millennials make heavy use of self-service offerings, and up to 80% of the group uses search daily or more (preferring Google).
You’ll want to keep in touch with millennials throughout the holiday season via digital channels and email. Focus on ongoing promotions as this group makes multiple, smaller purchases. Highlight your conveniences – like free shipping and returns- and pay a little more attention to SEO to help ensure that you show up in the right places in search.
Gen X is often ignored by retail marketers these days, but that’s a big mistake, as they spend the next highest amount behind boomers. Gen X is looking for convenience, spending more in warehouse clubs and discount stores than any other generation. Focus on your product offerings so Gen X can see your brand as a place they can get a lot of shopping done and score some bargains at the same time.
Gen Xers with kids are more likely to use voice assistants, shop on smartphones and use Facebook and Instagram. Consider connecting with them in these other channels that you might have thought were only appealing to their younger counterparts.
Baby boomers are spending heavyweights due to their larger population, higher incomes and bigger family sizes—but they spend more in fewer transactions. Older generations like boomers prefer in-store shopping to experience products for themselves and for easy returns. Interestingly, boomers with kids are more likely to shop online (42%) than boomers without (33%).
You’ll want to determine what coveted gifts boomers are after—then put your best foot forward. With fewer and larger purchases, these shoppers are probably waiting for the best offer on the gifts they plan to buy. Use digital messaging that encourages them to visit your store to “try before you buy.” Consider digital messaging and creative that includes adult children.
The silent generation doesn’t as spend much on holiday purchases. When they do, it’s selective and intending to enhance life or providing educational value. Only 38% of silents shop online – although some research indicates that the percentage is slowly increasing.
To reach these shoppers make use of inspirational messaging and creatives that highlight how your giftable products will enhance the lives of their loved ones. This generation is a good opportunity to highlight in-store promotions, as they aren’t as likely to shop online.