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Marketing to Multiple Generations

By: Darlene Fiske
Posted: June 16, 2008, from the August 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Ever heard of MySpace.com? Although this Web site appeals to many generations, teenagers take advantage of its message boards and chat rooms most frequently. Learn about this group and how its members interact with others by logging on. Parents of teens also need to be targeted. Parent-and-child savings packages and specific mother-daughter packages are great ways to drive brand loyalty at this very impressionable age. Keep in mind that mom most likely will be footing the bill, so emphasizing added value will be important. Also, the trend in family travel is on the rise. Many spas have incorporated packages and facilities that meet the needs of the entire family. Keep an eye on this trend, and realize the importance of families spending time together in a meaningful and healthy way.

Generation Y

The segment of people born in the 1980s and 1990s generally is considered to be members of Generation Y—this includes the current tween and teen generations. According to MediaPost.com, 49% of Generation Y members have built Web sites, and 25% have their own blogs. This technology-based group communicates differently than generations that preceded them. Think instant messaging (IM), text messaging, blogging and cell phones as the most effective ways of reaching these clients.

Generation X

This group typically is defined as generations born in the late 1960s and 1970s, and is comprised of the children of baby boomers. Because this segment is stuck in the middle of two very appealing markets, many marketers have a stereotypical perception that its members are mostly hippies. As a result of this, Generation X often is overlooked. However, it is important to remember that this group is self-reliant and independent, in the work force, starting families and considered by many to be trendsetters. Meeting the needs of this neglected demographic will create loyal clients.

Baby boomers

Born between 1946 and 1964, during a great increase in this country’s birthrate, baby boomers are the most sought-after clients. According to Brent Green, author of the book Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers (Paramount Market Publishing, 2004), “Consumers over age 50 now hold three-quarters of the country’s financial assets. By 2010, nearly 33% of American adults will be over age 40, and they will have nearly $800 billion in combined economic power.” What’s not to love about this generation? With 10,000 people turning 50 every day, there are daily opportunities to connect with this segment’s dreams and goals, and to recognize their accomplishments.

Another trend is the growth of the LOHAS (lifestyles of health and sustainability) market. Among the 55 million American consumers who make up this group, 47% are between 46–64. Eighty-five percent of LOHAS consumers will pay 20% or more for products that are sustainably made. Boomers want to do business with companies that are real and authentic, and that will give something back to their lives and the environment. Many of them are the elders in their families, and are providing financial assistance to children and grandchildren. They are active, intelligent and curious, and several of them are still in the work force. Create new and meaningful experiences for them, and they will respond.

Retirees, or silverbirds