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In any industry, understanding the consumers’ needs and wants is critical to success. On the flip side, understanding how consumers think and what they want can sometimes be challenging. As it turns out, something as simple as their age may be able to offer some valuable insight. A generational marketing strategy can clue MLOs into consumer preferences, improve the client experience, and, potentially, usher in new and improved business.  

What is generational marketing?

In short, generational marketing consists of tailoring messages to groups based on age and life stage. In other words, professionals can break down their target audience into segments based on the year those consumers were born, then market to them more strategically.  

There are four generations that currently make up much of the consumer ecosystem. Baby Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, Generation X (Gen X) falls between approximately 1965 and 1980, Millennials between 1981 and 1996, and Generation Z (Gen Z) between 1997 and 2012. Members of each group may have vastly different goals, behaviors, and motivators. For example, a Baby Boomer financing a third home should probably be targeted differently than a Millennial purchasing their very first. As such, developing a thoughtful and strategic marketing approach for each group is critical.  

Benefits of generational marketing

Tailoring your messaging by generation can usher in an array of perks including, potentially, increased business. By expanding your marketing efforts, you can effectively grow your client pool. For example, your current ads may be targeted toward Gen X homeowners looking to refinance, but adding marketing efforts aimed at young, eager first-time buyers could draw in more diverse business and grow your bottom line.  

In the same vein, generational marketing ensures you don’t have to rebrand or adjust your messaging as target consumers age out of one group or another. Instead, you can develop segmented marketing efforts for each phase of life and homeownership.  

Finally, generational marketing can improve the client experience. As an MLO, a critical aspect of your job is building understanding and trust with consumers. When your marketing materials are relevant, relatable, and well-targeted, clients will feel far more comfortable conducting business with you on their team.  

How to develop a generational marketing strategy

If you’re sold on generational marketing, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.  

First, be careful not to make assumptions about any one generation. For example, you might assume that Baby Boomers are inactive on social media, thus opting to tailor Facebook ads to Gen Z. The reality, though, is that there are more Facebook users over 65 than those between 13 and 17! You’ll want to complete thorough research on each generation and ensure any resulting marketing decisions are backed by strong data.  

Speaking of Facebook, a strong intergenerational strategy relies on multiple marketing channels. While Facebook ads can certainly prove beneficial, remember that members of different generations may have vastly different preferences and behaviors. To capture more of the market, you’ll need to diversify channels. Consider print media, billboards, flyers, community building, and any other avenues your research has turned up in addition to social media.  

Finally, be careful to avoid generalizations. Putting current or potential clients into a box based on age can heighten tension and tarnish relationships. While a consumer’s generation can provide clues into how they may behave or what they might prefer, remember that each client is still unique, different, and after that personal connection.  

Whether you’re hoping to increase client satisfaction or simply land more deals, a generational marketing strategy could help. Simply conduct some research, take to multiple channels, and avoid any generalization to capture business at any stage of life! Remember, although segmenting is a powerful marketing tool, it is critical to treat each audience with equal importance throughout their homebuying journey.  

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