Are you a Generation X, Z or just a baby boomer?
Not segmenting your market limits potential profits
According to data from the Office for National Statistics, there are more than 23 million people aged over 50 in the UK. That’s more than a third of the population.
And it’s the third with the highest level of disposable income.
With this in mind, are you missing out on your share of this? Do you know who your “target audience” is and how can you make sure that your marketing strategy is being directed towards the right people?
Spending some time and maybe money finding out the answers to these questions could be a valuable exercise in helping you to increase profits and clients.
Understanding your market
People aged over 75 buy five times as many cars as those aged 18 to 24 (according to Marketing Week) but do you ever see a 75-year-old featured in a car advert?
The over-50s are often misrepresented or even ignored in marketing but they’re an important group, so you ignore them at your peril.
Understanding who your ideal customers are is vital if you’re going to maximise your sales. Don’t assume you know who buys your products, find out for sure.
There are a number of ways to do it.
Ways to segment the market
Although we’ve placed a real emphasis on age, there are other ways to segment your market too. You should consider:
- Psychographic factors, such as; culture, social status, lifestyle and personality type
- The decision makers. Who decides to make the purchase?
- Behavioural factors, such as; product usage and frequency of use
- Geographic factors, such as; country, countryside or city
- Distribution choice. So, whether they buy your product or service in a shop or online
- Demographic factors, such as; age, income, gender, family size, religion, race, nationality, language, etc.
Depending on your product or service, one, some or all of these factors will be important.The main thing is to consider them all before you settle on your marketing strategy.
And once you have a clearer understanding of who your ideal customer is, don’t be tempted to sneak back into old habits and just send out your marketing message to all in a shotgun style approach.
Your marketing will always be far more effective if it’s aimed at the right people.
If someone outside of your normal demographic is looking for boat insurance, for example, then they can still find you if your website is good and your contact details are prominently shown.
There are a number of resources online, like this one at Survey Monkey, about market research for segmentation. Invest some time to get segmentation right.
Can you target more than one generation?
Looking in more detail at age as a determining factor is there just one age range you should be looking at or will there be multiple?
The answer is that it depends on the size and scale of your business and how niche your product or service is.
You may have customers in a number of groups or just one.
Marketers refer to the different age groups as:-
- Generation Z – post-millennial youth born after 1996, prefers juice bars to pub crawls
- Millennials – born 1982-1995 and invented avocados
- Generation X – born 1965-1981, known for their love of MTV and indie films
- Baby boomers – born 1946-1964, known for a free university education and free love
- Silent generation – born 1927-1945, adverse to debt and known for a waste-not want-not mentality.
A bank may look to sell its loans to Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and even some of Gen Z too. However, the need for a loan may differ significantly between these groups so any marketing campaigns will need to be tailored for each to be effective.
If you are looking to sell fiction books to a young adult market, for example, then your audience is going to be Gen Z. As long as the wording, imagery and marketing channel is tailored accordingly there is no reason why you can’t target all 5 groups. You will just need 5 differently themed adverts.
How to adjust your marketing strategy
Your products and services need to add value to the customer’s life and your marketing campaigns need to reflect this.
If you find out after doing some research that the people buying your product weren’t actually quite the people you thought they were, no worries. You justneed to make some changes.
Try to find out why customers buy your product, what they like about it and what they don’t like about it. How did they hear about you, what did they think of the buying process and would they buy from you again?
Once you have a bit more information about your main audience, you can market appropriately.
You should look at:-
What you say – With your new customer in mind, do you need to change your sales pitch? What’s important to them, what do they want to know?
Where you say it – If you’ve always advertised on Facebook and via email, think about whether you need to look at print options instead. Are there other alternative ways that you could promote your product?
Ultimately, this all starts with you finding out who your ideal customers are.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop selling to your existing customers but just be aware of the options available – you could be missing out on a big chunk of sales.
If you don’t spend time getting your marketing right, then you know there will be competitors out there who will.
Helping you to understand your customers
We like to work with our clients to understand their business and their customers. If we believe you are missing out on potential new sales, then we’ll sit down with you and talk you through it.
If you’d like to invest more of your money into sales and marketing, we can help with that too. Once your business is running cost effectively, it can free up more of your time for you to spend on growing your business.
About Jon Pryse-Jones
Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.
An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”
Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board. “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says. He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.