As you build your brand to suit the needs of your target audience, you will create an ideal customer profile. These are the people who have the problem you’re promising to solve, who will appreciate what you’re delivering, and who will be happy to pay what you’re worth.
You will use this ideal customer profile to craft communications that are targeted, relevant and evocative for your specific audience. This is crucial, since every consumer wants to know, immediately, what a brand has to offer that is applicable to their current situation and long-held beliefs.
One component of an ideal customer profile is age. And one effectual way to think about age (and what it will mean to your customer communications) is through the use of generational truths. These could be called stereotypes—and it’s important to avoid pigeonholing people too strictly—however, generational truths can be helpful in developing empathy for your audience and for connecting on a level that converts.
Because people are living longer, there are currently four generations available to us:
- Traditionalists (born 1925-1945)
- Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)
- Generation X (born 1965-1980)
- Millennials (born 1981-early 2000s)
Depending on how your brand has been built (and on the problem it solves), a number of these generations might be present in your target audience; however, for most of us, one or two generations will have a greater need for our brands than the others.
In my business, for instance, Traditionalists do not make up a large percentage of my audience. They are already retired, and only a few are likely to want to build a brand. Baby Boomers, however, are often interested in building a brand. They are getting ready to retire (or are looking forward to it in the next decade or two), and are starting to think about creating a legacy. They’ve ‘been around the block’ and maybe already owned a business that wasn’t as successful as they would have liked. Now, they want to get it right the first time, and they finally have the budget and the sense of urgency to get it done.
Generation X is of the age where they’re thinking that there’s more out there than working a nine-to-five and they’re starting to ponder what they’ll do with their lives now that the kids are more independent, and they’re being looked to for leadership in the workplace and in the marketplace. This makes Generation X a strong focus for my business.
And I can’t forget about Millennials. They are still involved in their first careers, paying off university debt, raising young families…and beginning to make plans for what’s next. I will build relationships with them now, so my brand is there as soon as those dreams begin to take shape, whether that's right after school or after they've explored other options first.
This makes Baby Boomers my primary audience, with Generation X following just behind them and Millennials on their heels.
I have compiled a list of characteristics and beliefs held by each generation, so that as you build your brand and market it, you can more effectively appeal to, communicate and build relationships with, your ideal customers.
- Traditionalists (a.k.a. The Silent Generation) survived a number of wars, are frugal, often held only one job in their lifetime, subscribe to the idea that hierarchy matters, resist change, value discipline, are conservative in their beliefs and value the integrity of hard work (even if that work isn’t what they would have chosen). Because they endured such difficult times, they are more likely to make decisions based on practicality than on emotional attachment. In this way especially, they are unique to all other current generations.
- Baby Boomers were introduced to television in their youth, and it still seems to hold significance for them. They were raised by suburban parents with relative financial freedom, and therefore aren’t as frugal as previous generations. They are fearful of conflict, since they were born in post-war time and were the first generation to live under the threat of nuclear attack; and yet, were the first generation to truly rebel with rock ‘n’ roll, drugs and protests. They are the first health-conscious generation, the happiest generation, and are currently concerned about retirement security and creating their legacy.
- Generation X has experienced the highest rate of divorce in history, were raised more hands-off than any previous generation, were the first generation to be exposed to video games as children, and tend to be highly adaptive, skeptical, resourceful, independent and technologically proficient. They value freedom and appreciate challenges and responsibility.
- Millennials (a.k.a. Generation Y) value doing what they love more than money or status. Because they came of age when the global economy was tanking, they learned to look for income alternatives, and are therefore more entrepreneurial than other generations were at their age. They look online for just about every need, are motivated by convenience, are somewhat immune to traditional advertising and rely heavily on emotional brand attachments as well as personal recommendations from family and friends.
What generation makes up the largest portion of your target audience? Are you focussed on them whilst building your brand? If you’re not (or if you’re just not sure), then I suggest enrolling in the Master Your Message™ three-week Program, as well as the optional Master Your Message™ Mastermind three-day Retreat. Both have been designed to guide you in getting your message right, sending that message to all the right people at the right times…for maximum brand visibility, connection and profitability. Click here to learn more.