How old is your typical customer? Do you actually know? I have worked with a company which had an “estimated customer age bracket” box in every salesman’s order report form, but I suspect that’s an unusual initiative. For most of us, if we’re even interested, we might have to guess.
I think we should be interested though. We’re marketing to all of these people, and I’d bet there’s as big a generational gap between 25-year-olds and 60-year-olds as there’s ever been. Your oldest customers may have started work in the late 1960s, but a far larger number – a quarter or more? – were still at school as recently as the turn of the century. These people are from what’s known as the “Millennial” generation, and they run their lives very differently from the over-55s. You may have noticed, if you’re under 35.
Then there’s “Generation Z”, which has been joining the world of employment for the past five years or so, and is even more removed from the older age group. If you’re one of these people, you’ve probably grown up thinking that a phone call isn’t something to be answered, but a notification that somebody wants your attention when it’s convenient. And even then, you’ll probably choose to reply by text or email. Many older people see this as phone-phobia, but it’s actually driven by the desire to give a considered response, rather than be put on the spot.
Most marketing which I see, however, remains targeted at an age group which is already in the minority, and by definition declining steadily as a proportion. Sure, many of you will only be marketing to very senior decision-makers, and these are bound to be older (although not that old). But I suspect that others should be marketing to a younger demographic than the one they have in mind. Even your median age customer (who’s probably what – early forties?), will have started work in the 1990s, and has never had a working day without email.