So what should businesses be doing to tackle multi-generational marketing? In Part 3, Prodo's managing director Paul Billington explains how you can deliver a multi-generational marketing strategy.
So what should businesses be doing to foster those relationships and make them strong?
Well, we talk about content, it’s massively about content. The way that a brand, a business, will engage with its clients even whether it’s consumer or business-to-business - it doesn’t make any difference, the connecting on a level of content. It delivers content to people, so that content can be in various forms - it can be video, it can be obvious things that are very visual, it can be things that are read.
The younger generation and, obviously, the future purchasers read more than any other generation has done in the past. We may think that our children are playing on their mobile phone and their computers and their iPads and they’re not watching the news or they don't play out with their friends. But you’ve got to think about what they are doing - and what they are doing is, they’re reading, and they’re reading about all sorts of different things. And businesses that want to engage with those generations, as I say, that are going to move into their future purchasers, need to flood them with information because they’re so driven by reading information.
Now that’s not going to come naturally to every person, so how would you advise a business that they can deliver that content stream?
Well it’s horses for courses and, of course, yes, there’s lot of different businesses, lot of sizes of businesses - so at one end what we’re starting to see is that in terms of delivering content digitally to individuals from the advertising or marketing point of view, is those budgets are starting to compete with TV advertising.
We all know the statistics that more people are starting to look at their phone or a tablet or a laptop screen than they are a TV, but at the moment that that starts to drive purchases, huge companies’ advertising budgets are going to shift towards delivering more and more content online, because that’s where it is, so the more eyes that are hitting it the more it’s going to do.
So at that end, that’s how it is. With smaller businesses you can engage in content in a whole different level of ways. You just need to write content, you need to communicate with people more online. I had a recent experience in New York where I was hiring a car to pick me up and take me places. The company was based in Berlin, serving in lots of different cities around the world, they push, without realising, they push you down to WhatsApp in terms of communications - and it might sound really straightforward but it’s a different way of delivering content. It’s not phoning me up, it’s not sending me an email, it’s dealing with me on a one-to-one basis.
And there’s a company in America recently which has had a huge investment, which is basically a call centre operation, but it’s an instant messaging call centre and there’s lots of technology to come after this, but it’s that instant interaction with people which is becoming more and more important. So, in a very round-about way, you don’t realise how content gets delivered.
We can talk about writing articles and writing blogs attracting people in what we call a funnel, with content and nurturing people through a funnel and in towards a buying decision about delivering with appropriate information at an appropriate time. But to get into that way of operating you need to make it part of your life - and communicating with your customer instantaneously is becoming so important and so expected from businesses.
People want things now and, as the younger generations move through, that will become more and more important so you should start doing it now. Once they get into that mindset, the whole delivering content to people digitally, putting information out through to them, pulling them through to buying decisions, will become natural.
Obviously you mentioned about the theory coming full circle with the personal contact again, do you find that that’s bringing the silver surfers and the other generations into the mix again, that they’re actually feeling comfortable as well?
Oh yes, absolutely. The older generations, their activity: so the silver surfers, their activity online is increasing and increasing and they still have the same loyalty as the younger generations do now.
And, as I say, everybody has their loyalty - but where it’s previously been to individuals and has shifted to physical things like loyalty cards and quickly moved away from that. Loyalty with people is still there through content and through information that’s delivered digitally; you can build those relationships back up with the younger generation. It’s a lot about personality, it’s a lot about endorsements - but with the older generation it’s about knowledge, it’s about experience, it’s about personality, and those things can be achieved through digital content.