Alison Relf, MD of KBB PR company Taylor Alden, reveals why she believes generalising generations is a dangerous route to go down in today's exciting communications world.
In 2011, 52% of 65-74-year-olds used the internet; it was 85% in 2019 and keeps rising. I searched for this statistic after I had heard, on my morning conversation radio channel, that most over-50’s struggle with technology. I stopped in my tracks! Pardon?
But it got me thinking about the perils of generalising generations in our marketing world. There are tomes on the traits and behaviour of generations X, Y, Z (and whoever may come next!) but Judi Dench was a TikTok star in lockdown; and my young nephew loves dog-eared books, vinyl records and real maps so he can quickly see where the North of anywhere is, picture the size of Cumbria compared to Cancun, and work out different options to get somewhere via a picturesque route!
Our commercial social media channels – ironically – are full of people who love the touch and feel of a beautiful printed magazine with gorgeous photos and drawings. Think Breathe for example. In turn, readers of said beauty jump on a website or social media channel to find out more or buy!
In the KBB business, we are lucky to have magic 18-year-olds and marvellous octogenarians; but how do we actually know that they, and target customers and suppliers, think and act in the way their 'generation box' says they should? Of course, they don’t! I was in a meeting recently – a real face-to-face one – where the age range spanned 40 years; and the ideas flowed with interaction and complete understanding from all parties, as indeed has always been the case with great, intelligent teams.
I am simply saying here: “Don’t put all your eggs in one 'trendy' basket when developing a marketing programme for your business and, equally, embrace the new, amazing modern tools we have. It’s the mixing that’s the clever bit!
As a specialist in the KBB world, there is a plethora of marketing techniques we use depending on the client, budget, customer, brand, aims etc. The 'basket' is varied, exciting, comprehensive, and sometimes overwhelming. So do your research into your customers (and ask your industry friends) – what do they use, read, watch, love when buying a kitchen, bathroom, tap, oven? What brand values are they looking for? Why should they stock your product?
And remember the eternal principles: one – talk about them, not you; and two – it’s horses for courses!