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By Tom emmerson
Vice president of sales and marketing
premier advantage Marketing
4 Factors of Generational Marketing
learn how each age demographic perceives your promotional efforts
The techniques that you use to market to different generations hould be as varied as your client base. Each age demographic should
be approached in its own unique way,
even if you’re marketing the very same
product. Knowing more about how your
customers process marketing information can help you stay a step ahead of
When crafting marketing or promotional materials, be sure that you
consider the following four areas very
Knowing the difference between the
four major generational labels is proverbially half the battle. The following
definitions are based on Neil howe and
William Strauss’s generational theory,
as published in their book Generations.
• Matures: Born between 1925 and
1942. They define themselves by
family and are rooted in the values
that they were raised on. Their lives
have been greatly shaped by war and
• baby boomers: Born between 1943
and 1960. They largely define themselves by what they have accomplished in their professional lives. In
general, they are short on time and
low on patience.
• generation X: Born between 1961
and 1981. They are defined by what
they have seen in terms of technological growth — witnessing the invention of cellphones, the Internet and
• generation y: Born after 1982.
They’re adept at using technology to multitask and are generally more loyal to brands than their
Illustration: Dennis Wunsch
Often, the timing of a marketing campaign can be just as important as your
actual pitch. Keep the following in mind
for each age demographic.
• Matures: It’s likely that they won’t
respond to messages of urgency and
expiration. For instance, advising
members of this generation to “act
now” is not something that will motivate them. Matures don’t tend to fear
the loss of a special deal and won’t
allow themselves to be pressured
into making a decision.
• baby boomers: They’re the least pa-
tient of all the generations and want
information immediately. as such,
your marketing needs to be efficient.
They are likely to work with the mort-
gage company that provides what
they want in the shortest time pos-
sible. Baby boomers also are less
likely to respond to time-sensitive
offers, but they understand the value
of a good deal when they see it.
Everyone is looking for something a
little different, and your market’s four
generations are no exception.
• Matures: They’re looking for a sense of
connectedness that reaches beyond
their individual families. Members of
this generation need to clearly see the
value of your offer and the different
ways that it benefits them.
• baby boomers: remember that convenience is key in marketing to this
generation. Saving them time on
their loan applications or reducing
their closing costs will earn the trust
and respect of these clients.
• generation X: They’re looking for an
offer that comes with a satisfaction
guarantee. Since this generation can
be skeptical of marketing efforts, having your offer on the outside of direct
mail will sometimes seem encouraging to them, as this conveys the message that you aren’t hiding something.
• generation y: Members of this generation often have more debt because
they are generally more collegiately
educated. Showing them how they
can afford a loan will earn their trust,
respect and business.
Each generation communicates in its
own separate ways. It’s important to
be familiar with the range of reactions
that you can expect from generational
• Matures: This generation prefers
face-to-face communication. an appointment will help you close deals
with this demographic. They tend
to value personal relationships and
will be consulting others in making
• baby boomers: They’re often underestimated in terms of their technological experience and can frequently
comprise a large portion of your online consumer base. Their call to action can be by either phone or e-mail.
regardless, they want fast responses
to their questions.
• generation X: They’re more dependent on e-mail for communication,
but they’re constantly researching
their decisions through various other
mediums. Direct mail that drives
them to the Internet for more information is perfect for their style of
• generation y: With their technological savvy, this generation uses quick-response (Qr) codes, text messages
or e-mail. They spend much less time
having physical conversations and,
instead, electronic response mechanisms often can work best.
• • •
You’ll invariably gain the greatest
marketing advantage by empowering
your customers with information and
resources regardless of their genera-
tion. That said, knowing more about
your customers and their perceptions
will help you choose the products and
marketing approaches that best help
you close deals.
carefully considering the different
needs and perceptions of each gen-
eration can help you move closer to
achieving that all-important goal: in-
creasing your sales volume. •
Tom emmerson is vice president of sales
and marketing for Premier advantage
Marketing, where he oversees strategic
direction and business-development activities. Emmerson has 18 years of experience
in mortgage and financial direct mail. his
leadership and experience help Premier
advantage Marketing generate innovative
direct-marketing ideas. he has designed
and written mailers for GNc, american
Express, Merrill Lynch, Quicken and Prudential. reach Emmerson at (888) 799-3959 or