December 3, 2023


Small Business News from NTSI

How to build successful relationships with a multigenerational customer base

Duncan Stockdill, CEO at customer relationship management software specialist Capsule, explains how SMEs can leverage CRM technology to tailor their marketing efforts and build lasting relationships with multigenerational customers.

The days of using a ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing strategy for an entire population are long gone.

Each generation, from the Silent Generation to Millennials, consume and share information in different ways, meaning marketers must carefully define their targeting strategy to attract and retain these distinct consumer cohorts.

But how can SMEs be sure they’re effectively communicating with all of their desired yet disparate demographics?

From telephone calls and Facebook ads for Baby Boomers to ethical marketing and personalisation for millennials and Gen Z, what really works and how can technology empower multigenerational marketing?

Relationships that are made to last

Business owners know how hard it can be to attract new customers and build lasting and loyal relationships. After getting their attention with clever advertising or carefully crafted content, they woo them through lead nurturing emails and targeted promotions hoping that they’ll commit long-term. It’s even harder when you’re trying to market a product or service to so many different demographics, from a sixty-something who is unfamiliar with digital marketing to a twenty-something who spends their life online and rarely makes or picks up a phone call.

Generational segmentation is key and can make the difference to whether a marketing campaign flies or fails.

Not one for all and all for one

Businesses now have to reach one of the most connected and ‘experience’ hungry new cohorts in society – millennials. These tech-savvy prospects have drastically changed the marketing landscape because they want to buy from companies that have purpose, sustainability and environmental ethics built into their brand ethos.

But would Generation X who are juggling careers, child-care, paying mortgages and worrying about their pension pots respond to the same approach? Maybe not. Is it worth trying to get Baby Boomers to switch to your brand when they are renowned for being brand-loyal to another for years? Probably not.

That’s why to develop a meaningful relationship, you have to get personal. You have to truly understand the nuances of your customer segments, treat them well and communicate with empathy.

Software that gets up close and personal

Making customers feel special and understood is key to building long-lasting, loyal and lucrative relationships. Small gestures can make a big difference. But who can remember the birthday of every client or where they went on holiday? Can you recall the name of a hot prospect’s child or which football team they support? You shouldn’t have to. This is where an effective CRM system comes in.

A CRM will allow you to capture and record critical customer information from every touchpoint with them – from your website, your sales team, events or your email distribution platform. Their likes and dislikes, location preferences, ideas on budget, preferred contact method, previous campaign engagement and life-stage can all be captured in one place so that an accurate customer profile can be created and you can talk to them in their ‘language’.

For example, millennials who grew up mid recession care about price and would go to a website to get a discount code. Salary stretched Gen Xers would likely do the same but for different reasons – so you may find that there is more uniting some of your segments than dividing them. But if you want a Baby Boomer on board, don’t ask them to log on and download a code. Instead, pick up the phone and talk.

By using the information you have gathered via your CRM to micro-target, you can create smaller, niche customer segments and deliver highly personalised ads, emailers, lifestyle promotions, location-based offers and video content based on past purchasing behaviour and demographic trends.

Driving sales and loyalty

Integrated with an email distribution platform like Mailchimp, CRM software allows businesses to send out accurate birthday offers, cross-sell new products based on preferences and customise repeat purchase deals to help build brand loyalty and nurture long-term brand advocates.

And with a CRM system in place, you’ll know whether a cold-call leaves customers cold or an email will be binned without opening – so you can evolve your customer contact strategy accordingly.

It will help you identify your most responsive and profitable customer segments so that you can build a prospect database based on tried and tested credentials.

Email can be ideal to reach Gen X customers who are constantly logged in for work by day, then keeping in touch with family on tablets and smartphones by evening.

Younger demographics meanwhile, respond to honesty, integrity and authenticity rather than contrived corporate content. Immediacy is key – keep copy short. They also respond to video and imagery – get this right in your email marketing and you’ll get them shouting about and sharing your brand on social media to generate a self-sustaining – and free – buzz.

Meanwhile, your Boomer customers want plenty of information to make an informed decision. They may pick up the phone and tell their friends about your services while Gen Z who were born digital will Snapchat it – especially if you have a celebrity influencer on board with your brand.

Personalisation pays dividends

Systems that offer one version of the truth – one big picture of their relationships, sales pipelines, daily tasks and monthly reports – are integral to delivering growth.

Organising data in one place with automated prompts for recurring tasks or gentle reminders to get in touch with a customer all add up to improved outcomes in less time.

With an effective CRM solution, businesses can develop a customisable contact system which is attentive to each and every generation. It delivers thoughtful personal details alongside insightful sales and forecast reports, call reminders, meeting alerts and team-task list assignments. This means customers feel understood and appreciated – whatever decade they were born.