GUEST COMMENTARY Connecting with Audiences of All Generations: How to Reach and Engage with Baby Boomers through Gen Z – Guest Commentary
Funny memes, sharp tweets, and humorous greeting cards that take aesthetics to the next level are becoming a powerful messaging method for brands to connect with millennials.
They aim to inspire, educate, entertain and, of course, convert audiences into loyal consumers.
Millennials are the largest group of people that brands target. However, baby boomers, Gen X and Gen Z also have a say in the tactics and channels businesses adopt to deliver their messages.
Gabriella Peace, Marketing Communications Manager UK Greetings, offers her perspective on the different messaging methods that appeal to each generation and why, to help your business connect with your audience and communicate your core values.
Baby boomers – more in tune with technology than you think
The baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are those who lived through a decade of revolutions, and some of them were even catalysts for the emergence and popularization of the counterculture of the 1960s.
Their wealth of experience means only one thing: baby boomers are quick to adapt, forward-thinking and change-makers. This is why, when they experienced yet another revolution, that of digital, they were in tune with current events and are now flourishing in the breeding ground of digital tools.
There is one tool that baby boomers particularly favor: Google. The search engine is a gateway to various information, and that is exactly what excites them. If baby boomers find your website, they’re more likely to stick around longer if they see value in what you’re telling them. In fact, 66% of baby boomers who participated in the Immersion Active study said they regularly shop online through web-based devices.
With 87% of people aged 55-64 and 65% of people aged 65+ owning a smartphone in 2020 in the UK, it’s no surprise that one of baby’s favorite methods of messaging boomers be the text. It’s personal, relevant and engaging, so be sure to offer texting as an option to meet the needs of seniors.
What shaped the lives of baby boomers was television, and it will never go out of style for them. Not only that, but the older generation grew up waiting for the courier to deliver love letters to them from a distance and news from extended family, so direct mail is also a preference for them. Aside from direct mail, baby boomers have a thing for greeting cards because they elicit a nostalgic feeling.
Generation X – your most diverse audience
The children of baby boomers, Generation X were born between 1965 and 1980 and are often referred to as the proverbial middle child in history due to their small size and influence compared to their predecessors and successors. They are called Gen X precisely because they refuse to be defined. In fact, the eras in which they grew up were also very diverse; an amalgam between 1960s nostalgia and eyes glued to ongoing technological advances. The profiling of Generation X is also evident in the way they consume messages: the opposite of selectively. They like to stay on top of their game and have a sensory experience. But the best thing about them is that they are likely to stick with a brand as long as it demonstrates transparency and authenticity.
What better way to increase brand loyalty and deliver a tailored experience than with email?
marketing? Emails and newsletters provide an outlet to include coupons and coupons, birthday gifts, and personalized messages. Gen Xers have a strong disbelief in the social system, which has made them the biggest savers when it comes to school, retirement, and corporate funds. That’s why coupons have a special place in their hearts.
Besides email marketing, Gen Xers are in favor of direct mail. The snail mail brings nostalgia to the fore as they reminisce about their sweet childhood memories. Nothing beats a handwritten greeting card sent directly to them as they favor emotional feelings!
Millennials – favoring creative brand communication
The “millennium” has become a buzzword today and a prime target generation for marketers. Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials, also referred to as Generation Y, are socially conscious and environmentally conscious connoisseurs who highlight the shift from narrow-mindedness to a “wild dream” mantra.
They are also grounded in the tech world where their opinions thrive, and this informs their preferences towards user-engaging platforms like Instagram and online forums like Reddit.
With such a strong social conscience, millennials like to take everything with a grain of salt and will go the extra mile to do their research before making a purchase. According to HubSpot, millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts. These experts are often YouTube vloggers, bloggers or social media influencers. So be sure to up your influencer marketing game.
Millennials are looking for brand experiences and creative means of communication, which mainly rely on visuals, animations and videos. It’s the story behind the brand that counts and not so much the end product. According to research conducted by Event Brite, 66% of millennial attendees said they were happier spending money on live experiences than on goods. The reason is FOMO (fear of missing out). The same study showed that around 73% of respondents are driven by FOMO when deciding to spend on experiences, as well as the fact that most of them are on a tight budget and prefer to create memories from of experiences.
In terms of values, brand authenticity and transparency are of great importance. They are looking for “a focused experience that grabs their attention from the get-go” and prioritizes quality over quantity.
What’s particularly trending among millennials is nostalgia – a continuation of the previous Generation X. Vinyl, polaroid cameras and fashion trends dictate millennial consumer preferences. It’s no surprise that greeting cards are still so popular with millennials, as millennials tend to send messages of support and short sentiments. in technology have not been able to replace the tradition of sending and receiving greeting cards.
The newest addition to the generational framework is Generation Z, also known as iGen or zooms. Born between 1997 and 2015, they are renowned for their huge presence on TikTok and their talent for technologies, especially social media.
With such a constant stream of information at their fingertips, their attention span is the shortest of any generation, precisely around eight seconds compared to twelve seconds for millennials. This means captivating short-form video content is favorite, hence the popularity of the TikTok platform.
If millennials established the league for using influencer marketing, Gen Zers are taking it to the next level. As digital natives, they live on a multitude of platforms and aren’t shy about sharing personal facts and opinions. To reach Gen Z, brands must not only master technology, but also deliver an expansive digital experience that is a cross between e-commerce, store, and social media.
In terms of the mode of communication, personal, authentic and relatable are the main keywords. Gen Z tends to favor an authentic feeling when it comes to greeting cards. Brand Instagram DMs have never been so powerful, especially if they’re aimed at sparking a conversation with the consumer. So talk to your Gen Z audience online and reap the rewards of their brand engagement.
Businesses tend to adopt universal branding and marketing strategies to connect with their audience. “While there is an array of messaging methods that appeal to generations, greeting cards remain one of the most preferred methods for connecting with loved ones and friends. As a supplier of everyday and seasonal greeting cards, we are seeing more and more demand for our products,” commented Gabriella Peace, Marketing Communications Manager at UK Greetings, a greeting card supplier. Although we have embraced digitization as a society, traditional communication methods never go out of style.