BY STEPHANIE CARNESCustomer segmentation is an important aspect of marketing strategy. Figuring out who your potential customers are enables you to market directly to them with messages that are meaningful and in channels that will reach them. We use customer segmentation to divide your target market into groups with similar characteristics so we can market to each group effectively.
You have a number of options when choosing your customer segments. Typical focuses are geography, income, interests, and buying behaviors. One powerful customer segmentation strategy is marketing by generation.
Right now, there are five distinct generations currently in the market—The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z—each with their own unique characteristics, values, and behaviors. It is important for businesses to understand and tailor their marketing efforts to effectively reach and engage with each group. Conversely, depending on the unique nature of your ground transportation business, you may choose to market to only a few of these generations. After all, if you are primarily transporting skiers from the airport to the ski resort, you probably won’t get the best results from marketing to the Silent Generation.
↹ The Silent Generation, also known as Traditionalists, were born between 1925 and 1945, and are characterized by their loyalty, respect for authority, and strong work ethic. This generation values tradition and is more likely to make purchasing decisions based on a sense of obligation or loyalty to a brand. In order to effectively market to them, you should emphasize the history and experience of your company and the reliability and quality of the service you provide, especially in contrast to newer options that don’t have a reputation for stability. Traditional marketing channels such as print and radio advertising may be more effective for reaching this generation than social media or digital marketing.
If you have a loyalty program, the Silent Generation will likely participate. While some members of this cohort have adopted technology, it is best to reach them through direct mail or print advertising. Ad creative should be conservative and convey luxury. Make it easy for people who are uncomfortable with technology to book with you via the phone. The Silent Generation, like their successors the Baby Boomers, highly value courteous, genuine customer service.
↹ Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are known for their desire for success and achievement. This generation values hard work and is more likely to make purchasing decisions based on practicality and value. To effectively market to Baby Boomers, you should emphasize the ease and convenience of your car services and highlight any promotions or discounts that may be available. Marketing efforts should also focus on building trust and credibility with this generation.
Traditional marketing channels such as television and print advertising may be effective for reaching Baby Boomers. Boomers are on social media, but they tend to use it to gather information, so your Facebook posts should educate them about what makes your service different. They also will likely participate in loyalty programs.
↹ Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, is the smallest generation and is known for its independence and skepticism. This generation values flexibility and work-life balance and is more likely to make purchasing decisions based on convenience and practicality. In order to effectively market to Generation X, focus on the convenience of booking with you. To address their skepticism, don’t be afraid to tout the characteristics of your company that set you apart from the competition.
Marketing approaches such as social media and email marketing are effective for reaching this generation. Gen X is a bridge generation when it comes to technology—they didn’t have the internet all their lives, so they are comfortable with both traditional and digital advertising, with Facebook being their favorite social media platform. Their skepticism and need for proof means that sharing positive reviews and encouraging positive word-of-mouth will be effective when trying to reach them.
↹ Generation Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are known for their tech-savviness and social consciousness. This generation values experiences and is more likely to make purchasing decisions based on the values and ethics of a brand. To effectively market to Millennials, you should highlight the values and mission of your brand and emphasize any philanthropic or charitable efforts that you are engaged in. Millennials embrace technology, so be sure to direct them to your website and app.
Social media and influencer marketing may be particularly effective for reaching this generation. Working with a local influencer in your market can be a surprisingly cost-effective way grow your business. The services you offer make a big impact visually, so high-quality photos and video for Instagram and TikTok can be a great way to reach Millennials.
↹ Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is known for their digital native status and social activism. This generation values authenticity and is more likely to make purchasing decisions based on the recommendations of their peers and influencers than through traditional advertising. To effectively market to Generation Z, businesses should focus on building authenticity and trust with this generation and using influencer marketing. Digital marketing channels such as social media and video marketing are particularly effective for reaching this generation. Just this year, research has shown that Generation Z uses the internet differently from other generations. Instead of Googling to find a product or service, they are more likely to search TikTok or Instagram. They want to see content that is created with them in mind, that isn’t loaded with SEO keywords, and that is visually engaging. At this point, your engagement with Gen Z customers will likely be for prom, wedding, and night-on-the-town services. All of these lend themselves to promotion on younger-skewing apps.
Of course, while these are general characteristics of each generation, each group is diverse. Businesses that take a multi-channel marketing approach in order to effectively reach and engage with all generations—and a wide range of people within each generation—will be more successful. A profitable multichannel strategy will include a mix of traditional and digital marketing channels as well as a strong focus on customer experience and engagement. By understanding the unique characteristics of each generation and utilizing a multi-channel marketing approach, you can effectively reach your target market. [CD0123]
Stephanie Carnes is the Spotlight Director for the LMC Groups. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.