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Communicating with Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers

Article by: Tina Rawlins
February 27, 2015

Now is an amazing time to be communicating! We have many ways to contact people and more data than ever about how people communicate. This data helps us to understand the intrinsic differences between Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. The question I had this week was about generational communication. Should we change our message based on a prospect’s generation? Should we highlight aspects of our business differently when speaking to each demographic? Many traditional corporations are beginning to invest in employee training on relationship management with members of other generations. Taking a similar approach in your direct selling might make a difference in your sales. Let’s take a look at the core aspects of each generation to identify some ways we can enhance our marketing.

Communicating with Millennials

First let’s look at Millennials. Millennials, also called Generation Y, are typically found to be those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. This generation is highly engaged and reachable due to their dependence on social media and mobile messaging. Due to changes in popular parenting and childcare techniques, some millennials tend to crave guidance, reassurance, and praise more than their Gen X counterparts. Here are some tips about Millennials:

● Millennials trust their peers over other recommendations.
● They want to feel that they discovered something and that they are special because of it.
● They want to be immersed in their phones rather than taking actual phone calls.
● Millennial customers don’t like to be blatantly sold things.
● Millennials want to see that you are a real person with real likes and interests.
● Millennials want visual representations such as PDF’s, photography, and videos.

Here are some ideas on how you might engage with a Millennial:

● Ask probing questions like, what their immediate goals are. You might also ask what they value most in life.
● Ask them to share their product experience on social media.
● Remind them how special they are and motivate them to take action.
● Ask millennials to be in a quick video for Youtube.
● If you have a visual product, ask them to share a photo of them using the product or displaying the product in an unusual place. (Drinking a shake at a roller blade park or water park instead of typical photos in the kitchen.)

Millennials grew up with technology so any Facebook posts or Twitter posts about being frustrated with technology is likely to turn them off. They expect high levels of follow-up and expect you to be tech savvy. If you struggle with technology the wisest move might be to include someone in your downline team that is talented with technology and let them assist your efforts as a team.

Communicating with Generation X

Now, let’s look at Generation X. Generation X, also called the MTV Generation, was born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s.They love to embrace social diversity and typically are motivated by social change. Generation X has high rates of higher education when compared with other generations especially in the United States and Canada. Generation X’ers are often entrepreneurial. When working with someone who can be labeled Gen X, I would suggest describing in detail the big picture plan of what your business or product can bring about as a change in the social norm. Here are some tips on Gen X’ers:

● Gen X’ers have a hard time trusting authority.
● They seek authencity and hold strong family values.
● They like to share videos and other content on social media.
● Gen X’ers are concerned with taking care of their fitness and wellness.
● Gen X’ers has the highest spending power of all living generations.
● Gen X’ers are saving for major money goals, such as children’s education, home ownership, and retirement.

Here are some ideas on how you might engage with a Gen X’er:

● Reach out with mail, either by email or by snail mail.
● Make a video demonstrating your product.
● Provide discounts or emphasize how they can save money with your product.
● Create a website where you can use as your branding home base.
● Try communicating with Generation X as if you were a friend sharing something interesting. Don ‘t be bossy or sales-like.
● Engage in social media.

This generation is split in their use of technology. Older Gen X’ers are more like Baby Boomers in that they don’t understand and use technology easily. However, younger Gen X’ers tend to be early adopters of technology and embrace social media. To best reach this group, you should have a mix of traditional and digital marketing strategies.

Communicating with Baby Boomers

Third, we must not ignore the powerful generation of Baby Boomers. The term Baby Boomers came from the extremely high birth rate that occurred after World War II (typical defined as between the years 1946 and 1964) especially in the United States and Canada. As teenagers these individuals were vocal about political policy and cultural revolutions. According to Wikipedia:

● 60% of Baby Boomers lost value in investments because of the economic crisis
● 42% are delaying retirement
● 25% claim they’ll never retire (currently still working)

Here are some tips on Baby Boomers:

● Baby Boomers are well versed in how to build businesses and many have a lot of experience in building teams.
● They have more free time, and look for opportunites with flexible hours to earn money.
● Baby Boomers crave one-on-one interaction.
● Baby Boomers make up one of the fastest-growing groups online and they engage more and more in social media.
● Baby Boomers don’t consider themselves old. They intend to tackle retirement with gusto and vigor.
● They want to be able to trust your product and your sales team.

Here are some ideas on how you might engage with a Baby Boomer:

● Reach out with personal phone calls and make one-on-one connections.
● Include Baby Boomers in your online marketing, but avoid trendy hashtags and abbreviations.
● Use testimonials to develop trust.
● Make sure that your call-to-action encourages online purchasing. While slower to adopt shopping online, more and more Baby Boomers are liking the convenience of online shopping.
● Recruit Baby Boomers for your downline. They generally know quite a few people but they are savvy shoppers and want to recommend products based on results. For more information about Baby Boomers and recruitment, see Baby Boomers have opportunity in job loss.
● Create videos that are shareable on Facebook and other more traditional social media.

Baby Boomers changed the marketing landscape with their arrival, and as they head into their golden years, they don’t plan on slowing down. Make sure to cater to their new freedom.

Marketing to Generation Z

The next generation is barely entering the workforce and graduating high school. Generation Z is the up and coming generation. In the United States this generation can also be called the iGeneration. It is becoming the most ethnically diverse generation in North America and across the globe as travel and technology advances. As direct selling and network marketers we will need to continue to develop our communication strategies to connect with Gen Z effectively.
As a distributor or independent consultant in a network marketing team or party plan business, you should tailor your marketing message to these three generations. Measure your response and continue to refine your message to build your business.

For more information, take a look at these Wikipedia pages on generational demographics:

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Tina Rawlins

Tina Rawlins | Social Media and Internet Marketing Consultant 

Tina Rawlins is a highly respected and experienced eMarketing strategist....

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