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Generational Marketing Isn’t Like Pulling Teeth

My dentist’s office confirmed my recent dental appointment not once, not twice, but FOUR times! A postcard I filled out during my last visit arrived in my mailbox a week before the appointment. Two days prior, I received a voicemail. A reminder email was delivered the day before, and then finally a text to confirm the appointment was sent two hours before.  I got to thinking about this a little more.

Obviously my dentist has ALL of my contact information, but would one reminder have been sufficient? When I arrived at the dental office, I asked the office manager if it was standard procedure for them to contact their patients via four different tactics. She looked at me, laughed and said they generally base it on the patient’s preference. I didn’t recall selecting a preferred method, so I continued to ask a few more questions.  (Maybe I was just trying to distract her and avoid being escorted to the chair).

What’s the top way patients prefer to be contacted? She confirmed my assumption that it was by text message. As I was escorted to the chair, I began to think of how we market to diverse generations, and the ways they engage and respond to various messages differently.

For instance, my parents don’t own a cell phone, so texting them would be futile. They are also retired and may not check their email daily. However, since they are old school, they religiously check the mailbox (heck, most of the time they watch for the mailman to pull up to the curb and personally greet him).  I’m sure a phone call or voicemail would have done the trick, but it reaffirmed my belief that in order to capture the attention of the different generations, you not only have to speak their language but you also have to deliver the right message by the preferred delivery method.

Here’s a mini breakdown to help you understand the age groups among the generations and a few suggestions to take into consideration when you market to them. Keep in mind, age is just ONE of the factors that affect your targeted audience’s response.  To be most effective, you’ll want to know more than just their age.

The Silent Generation (1927 – 1944) – This group grew up in the Great Depression and lived through four major wars. Although they are increasingly becoming more tech savvy, they may be less responsive to digital and mobile marketing, trusting traditional forms of marketing most. Give them a call or mail them a letter.

Baby Boomers (1945 – 1964) – This group grew up in economic prosperity and lived through the social revolution. They enjoy individualization and truly feel young at heart. Since this is the only generation to fully embrace both print and digital media, a multi-channel marketing approach should work well.

Generation X (1965 to 1981) – This group may not have experienced the economic safety net, but they are concerned about earning a living and a work-life balance. This generation is very tech savvy, which means digital marketing is mandatory. Don’t rule out direct mail which can support digital marketing and break through the clutter!

Generation Y / Millennials (1975 -1995) – This group experienced a whirlwind economic roller coaster and a technology boom. Incredibly tech savvy, self-absorbed and will block unwanted information, digital marketing, including social are essential channels, but consider adding direct mail if it is creative and can stand out in their mailbox.

Generation Z / Official name TBD (1995 – 2015) – To put it in perspective, the oldest among this group is barely out of high school. They are destined to be the dominant youth influencers of tomorrow. They have developed relationships with social media, beyond Facebook, and readily share information.

Need help segmenting your database and optimizing your marketing campaigns? Let the AccuData team of experienced consultants elevate the performance of your direct mail, digital and mobile campaigns.

Oh, and for the record, look Mom, no cavities!

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