As an individual, you know your own behavior doesn't fit neatly within a generational category, but as a marketer you know that targeted marketing (like segmenting your email list) can dramatically improve results. Advice for marketing to Millennials (or Baby Boomers or Gen Xers or even Generation Z) abounds, but smart marketers (like Scott Dubois) look deeper.
Scott co-founded Pidalia, a small digital agency that produces communication and technology solutions for clients, including billion-dollar companies, nonprofits, and organizations in complex, regulated industries like healthcare. Scott's also an internationally recognized speaker on marketing strategy, user engagement, and cross-media communications.
I invited Scott to Marketing Smarts to discuss generational marketing, including whether designations like "Gen X" still matter when we have access to sophisticated behavioral data on our target audiences.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
Generational designations like "Millennial" do matter, but anecdotal evidence can help you gain insight into your specific audience (04:56): "What's really interesting is some of the things that you will find anecdotally vs. what you'll find in studies.... We always see the case studies that come out and the reports that come out and, not to...say that that's not good information, but some of the really interesting things that you'll find will be anecdotes....
"We find some really interesting things, for instance, when you talk about an older generation, like the Boomer generation...and you get into something as simple as marketing 101, when you have email subject lines; personalization matters. That's a core principle, something you'd see in any report, but...if you actually use the personalization first, you lead with 'Kerry, comma" and follow with...an offer.... In that Boomer generation, that personalization that appears first instead of later in the subject line tends to work much better. It's some interesting things that we just find anecdotally like that that we'll turn around and repurpose in our practice."
Use generational data to enhance the customer experience (09:52): "It absolutely matters. Because you're still going to do subtle things, especially in a Web environment where you can swap imagery.... The other thing that I think is often overlooked...simple things like changing a font size. What we're not talking about, necessarily, are things that are measurably moving the needle, but we're talking about things that might make that interaction or experience better or more friendly. Those types of things really do matter in terms of facilitating the engagement."
When choosing a digital agency, ask the right questions (22:45): Businesses looking to hire an agency "should absolutely be asking for demonstrated experience with like companies.... You'd want to understand capabilities that you bring to the table. What are you good at, what are you not good at.... Don't try and be all things to all people. It would be very easy [for an agency] to try and do that....
"The third question that organizations that might be looking for a new agency should ask—and I think this might be the most important—is, 'How do you find yourself integrating?' Unless [the new agency is] going to go out and become the agency of record...it really becomes about how [they're] going to play with the agency of record, how [they're] going to play with internal teams across—it's not just the marketing team. It's going to be the legal team, the financial team, the HR team... 'Can you talk about how you've fit with other teams in organizations before?' Those are the critical questions that if I was an organization looking to hire an agency, that would be my approach. "
Scott and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
This episode brought to you by FullContact:
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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.