I attended a business forum at Intel last week and was quite impressed by the insight gained from their keynote speaker, Bob Wendover from The Center for Generational Studies.
Bob and his firm are expert in understanding the differences between generations. The thought being that we need to understand what makes various consumer groups 'tick' to effectively market and sell to them.
For example, Gen X'ers (age 26-42) place significant importance on time and time management. Bob shared examples of how this group will leave the office on-time. They have no time for office chit-chat and they really don't like face-to-face sales calls. They are suspicious of advertising and they pride themselves on "purchasing smarter".
And, Millennials (adults under age 25) rely almost completely on their computer and digital information; they need information at their fingertips, when they want it. They are highly influenced by friends and peers (hence the popularity of the social websites, such as Myspace.com) and they are savvy shoppers.
The reason I bring this up (other than the fact that I find this topic fascinating), is that marketers should be cognizant of different generational traits when we are developing customer segmentation approaches. Sure, age is typically a component of segmentation, but I believe that generational attributes might just add some missing nuances that will make your segmentation even more powerful.
For example, if you know that Millennials prefer to get their information about a product on your website, then your marketing should definitely direct them to your website. Do NOT ask them to call an 800 #. They'll never do it. And, by the way, when they're at your site, make sure that the info is easy to find. Further, make it a fun experience. Try to incorporate some type of interaction to get your Millennial prospect involved in your site. If you succeed, you may have just acquired a new customer.
RRW (mostly for our own benefit) has put together a re-cap of the attributes of today's living generations. Click the button on our site called: "Impact of Generational Attributes on Marketing."
It's always great to understand your customers and prospects. By looking at them in the context of Generational Attributes, I think you'll learn a ton and come away with some good ideas on marketing more cleverly to them.