Article November 2013

How To Gain The Trust Of Three Generations


What strategy is your business taking in connecting with consumers? Unfortunately, "one fits all" approach doesn't work like it used to. Marketing has changed, and customers expect more. Your brand's message needs to appeal to all types of consumers, coming from different generations. Their unique experiences and expectations influence the choices they make, particularly why and what they buy.


So, how do you get their attention? First, get to know them, who they are and what they value. Your customers make up three distinct generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Once you figure what they're about, you'll have greater success bringing in new customers and better serving your current ones.




Baby Boomers

For starters, Baby Boomers, your older customers, don't feel old. They don't want to hear references to the "good ol' days" or "back in the day." In fact most Boomers feel happier and healthier than they've ever been. As Tom Hank's wife Rita Wilson put it, "the future for Boomers is different from our parents who were winding down at middle age. We are winding up!" Baby Boomers are an active, optimistic group who dream big and value meaningful relationships. Make a real connection, and they'll be yours forever.


1. Engage With Them Online

Despite popular belief, Boomers are quite tech savvy. Research shows they spend more time online, about 27 hours a week, than Gen-Xers and Millennials. They use email daily as well as social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Boomer women are also the fastest growing group on Facebook. When you connect online, tell your company's story, what you value and stand for. Display references and testimonials for your service and product.


2. Know What They Care About

Individual relationships are extremely important to Baby Boomers. They value brands and people they can relate to and trust. Those connections develop from outstanding, consistent, friendly service. Show them you care and that you're the best at what you do. You may only have one shop, but your shop is your brand. Make customer satisfaction top priority.


Generation X

Generation X, known as the latchkey or MTV generation, doesn't have the same optimistic, positive, the "world is your oyster" outlook as their Boomer parents. Think "Beavis and Butthead" versus "Leave It To Beaver." Gen-Xers are a more cynical and distrusting group who don't want to be told what to do. They want to figure things out for themselves. Trust is valued, but hard to earn with this generation. Words mean nothing. Proven quality means everything. Your product should sell itself without all the noise of flashy ads and empty promises. Gen-Xers don't want to be your friend. They just want results. Though they may seem abrasive, there is a way to their hearts.


1. Be Honest. Be Real.

Gen-Xers know the "if it's too good to be true, it's probably is" mindset well. They aren't easily fooled, so the "used car salesman approach" won't work. Be up front with what you offer and let them decide. Show them. Don't just tell them. Give lots of detail so it doesn't look like you are trying to hide anything. Offer a money-back guarantee. Once you give them quality, they'll be back, bringing their friends, neighbors, and family members to your shop.


2. Get On Review-Based Sites

Gen-Xers typically do a lot of online research before making purchases. They rely on many review-based sites, like to determine which businesses they can trust. On these sites they look for a proven track record of honesty, reliability, and high quality. Most of these sites show business ratings, rankings, and customer reviews. Ask your satisfied customers to add positive reviews for your brand. If you receive a negative review like, "Bob's Roofing sucks!! They are slow and unprofessional!" be sure to respond. For example, "We're sorry your repair wasn't to your satisfaction and for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We'd like to fix the problem immediately. How best can we reach you?"



Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are your younger, often overlooked and undervalued, consumers. Many view this generation as entitled and apathetic, yet passionate about technology, good causes, and speed. Though statistics show about 36 percent of Millennials currently own a home, don't write them off just yet. This percentage will likely increase as this generation gets older and more established. And as far as the "experts" go, you are not it. Sorry. They will listen to their friends and peers over any seasoned professional. But, if you can get down on their level, you might come close to being a friend, a Facebook friend of course, but that means they have to like you first.


1. Get Them To Like You

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are fun and cool to Millennials, which they mostly use to chat with friends. They don't want to be bothered by boring advertisements. If you want their attention, make them laugh. Entertain them with funny videos, contests, jokes, and short articles that relate to their interests. Sometimes it just takes one to get them to like you.


2. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

Instant gratification and "getting in and out of the store" as quickly as possible are what appeals to most Millennials. They want their goods fast and cheap. Don't bother with explanations of how things work or what materials are used. Millennials aren't as interested in building or putting things together like the older generations. Instead be straightforward and keep it short when communicating with them. Then they can get back to the things that really matter: iPads, playlists, and keeping the planet green.


Mass Marketing Is Dead

Many companies have tried the "one--fits-all" marketing approach with consumers. Most often, it doesn't work. If you want their attention, first learn what makes your customers tick, their expectations, experience, lifestyle, and values. As a result, you'll better understand what influences their buying behavior and how you can improve and build a better business.