Technology is amazing! Businesses acquire new tricks and tools virtually non-stop. Tracking the trends of the Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation Xers is vital to staying relevant. As increasingly more millennials join the work force, business need to adapt to the new ways of reaching audiences. But, by constantly moving forward, are businesses accidentally leaving older clients behind?
First, it’s important to understand who is who in a discussion about generations.
- The Silent Generation or Greatest Generation is anyone born in the mid-1920s to the early 1940s.
- Baby Boomers are individuals born between 1946 and 1964, during the post-WWII boom.
- Generation X, also known as Gen X, is not very clearly defined but can generally be used to refer to the early 1960s to early 1980s.
- Millennials, who grew up during the turn of the millennium, were born between the early 1980s and late 1990s. They may sometimes also be referred to as Generation Y.
- Generation Z’s name is still developing. However, some ideas are iGeneration, Digital Natives, and Plurals.
As one might expect, as time passes, businesses are patroned less and less often by the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers, while the number of Millennial customers increases. Businesses must cater to the growing demographics but ideally without alienating older, established client-bases.
How exactly can a business balance the rapid increase of millennial clients while losing boomer business?
Don’t Transition Too Fast!
The fastest way a business can fall off track is with sudden movements. A business must understand its clients, perspective clients, and past clients to create an informed plan of evolution. Baby steps are needed in a significant transition as every transition comes with hiccups. To properly evolve, you must fix problems as they occur while also teaching your older clients how to use these changes to their benefit. A Millennial will understand Groupon, for instance, but a Boomer may need assistance the first few times. Help them overcome their technical fears and confusion so they do not feel lost or a sense of miscommunication.
Tailor Your Business To Adopters, Early Majority, And Late Majority Clients!
In marketing jargon, there are 5 types of buyers.
There are those who are Innovators. Innovators are those who are the smallest group as they are very involved in constantly learning about new products in the market. They are always the first ones to jump onboard. Only 2% of those in your target market will be innovators.
Next, there are Adopters. Adopters are willing to try a new product if it will help their life. They need to understand the product before jumping on board. They are about 15% of the market.
After that are the Early Majority. They will jump on board with a product after seeing their peers embrace the technology. With the early majority caring about longevity and reputation, they must see the product in place. The Early Majority and Late Majority both make up for about 39% each of the market. The Late Majority however, purchase later on. They usually wait till the Innovators are already on their way to a new product.
Lastly, the excessive traditionalists comprise the final 5% who either adopt products after they are old news or never adopt it at all.
Businesses need to target adopters, early majority, and late majority buyers. These groups establish a product or service for everyone else. However, with a combined of 93% of the market, it is important to not push the late majority out of the picture. Although early adopters can be a risky target, later adopters are possible clients as well.
When you create your marketing plan and business plan, make sure to evolve at a pace that will not lose a strong market segment. Although it seems great to be a leading company, it is important to have a clientele base who strongly needs your work, especially if you are not a major company. With the economy being such a diverse place, living on the bleeding edge of technology isn’t necessarily the best strategy for every business.
Communication Is Key!
A business must move at the pace of the clients. If you want to push into new technological territory, you must work WITH your clients to make the change happen. Help those who need assistance adapt to the new setting while giving your savvier clients the freedom to help themselves.
When communicating with clients, remain understanding of their needs, wants, and desires. Businesses have to meet their needs so remaining in touch with those needs is important. Jumping onto social media platforms and newsrooms to keep an eye on your younger audience’s opinions but also explore keeping a traditional touch. Email or even direct mail can help leave an impression on older audiences.
Whether you work in manufacturing, retail, or marketing, you must understand your clients and how to move your business forward. Remember that everyone moves at their own speed! Adapt your business plan to the times but keep an eye on your older audiences and late majority.