Speak their language and their channel. 3 keys to Generational Marketing.

Generational MarketingLet’s open up with a big caveat. Grouping any person into a category can be dangerous. Broad conclusions like Millennials are glued to their phones, Boomers are brand loyal, and Gen Xers are cynical can lead to tired, stereotypical messaging.

There is some power that comes with focus. And breaking down your approach to fit your audience is just smart marketing. So let’s do just that. Here are three ways you can gain success through segmentation.

  1. Customize your offering to fit their lives.

Millennials are one of the more educated generations in recent history. As a credit union that means they’ll have more student loan debt than others. Educating them on how to deal with this and other debt will bring them closer to your brand.

Gen Xers can come to the party with a healthy amount of skepticism. An offer with a guarantee will build much-needed trust and show you’re communicating with transparency. Directness and honesty, a hallmark of all credit unions, will hold a lot of weight for this audience.

Baby boomers are often active and on the move. Pushing a loan application that’s fast and easy will be appealing to them. This ease of use can be a good rule of thumb while offering any product to this generation.

  1. Pick the right channel

Millennials are adept with their technology. An SMS or social media led campaign will hold a lot of traction for them. Email works as well but relying on one channel when reaching out to this or any audience is a no-no.

Gen Xers are easily reached through email. They will also frequently price check before making a decision so make your online offers easy to find and share. Surprisingly, direct mail also works for Gen Xers. A recent study shows that 74 percent of Generation X actively read and respond to direct mail.

Baby Boomers can surprise you to with their online media usage. Banner ads that lead to your website will gain you a successful response rate. Combine that with a strong print presence and you’ll pack a promising one-two media placement punch.

  1. Respond the way they’ll respond

Millennials feel most comfortable in the digital world. It’s not that they avoid human interaction, quite the contrary. They just want that interaction to be on their terms and through media that is most comfortable to them. Applying online or accepting a online chat with a loan officer to gain some more information will make for a very successful call to action.

Gen Xers often need research to validate their choices. Driving them to your website for more information will garner the best results. Granted, the sale won’t be as immediate but in the long run it will be more effective. Once they find the right information, they’ll commit with confidence.

Baby Boomers might start online and with print but their most effective call to action is by phone. They appreciate personal relationships and a direct conversation with an informed associate is the direct line for their business. Email is also an option with this generation who wants things quick and easy.

Let’s not blindly ignore the detractors.

Many pundits turn their nose up at marketing to specific generations. They claim that the definition of a Boomer or Gen Xer is constantly changing. Others would argue that these segments were created through shared experiences. In this new age of constant contact with the outside world they believe that everything is shared. And if everything is shared we all, in a sense, belong to one large diverse “generation”. Lastly, many remind us that age doesn’t necessarily dictate a life stage. Boomers can take out student loans and Millenials can research the difference between a traditional and Roth IRA. So see these options just as they are offered — as options.

If you choose to take these suggestions as potent generational rules, be sure to break them. While segmenting your marketing efforts by generation can garner results, there are rules that cross all generational lines.

When you have information readily accessible from multiple channels, when you seek to empower more than sell and when you reach your customer through their own self interests you’ll have marketing that works. And those practices will be effective no matter what you’re target’s age or affiliation.