Is Apple Closing the Generational Marketing Gap?

Published by: Meredith Thornton    |   Category: Advertising, Blog, Marketing, Social Media    

For decades, we have been taught to market differently across various generations. Marketing managers and directors couldn’t fathom the thought of marketing to the fast-paced, tech-savvy lives of “millennials” the same way they marketed to the cost-conscious senior members of the “greatest generation.” It just didn’t make sense. Members of the greatest generation grew up in the shadow of the Great Depression, where people actually knew what it meant to be frugal. Strategically catering to this population meant emphasizing cost-savings, freebies, and senior discounts using direct print marketing techniques. As this demographic is known for being extremely loyal, it was always a priority to reward loyalty and treat these customers with the utmost respect through continued conversation and through the application of a consumer-centric marketing approach.

On the other side of the spectrum, members of the millennial generation feel a certain sense of “entitlement” and demand nothing less of instant gratification. If you don’t give into their impulse habits with enticing, attention-grabbing advertisements, good luck getting a response. You can’t seem to drag them away from the interactive appeal of social networking sites, YouTube, and Hulu, where they can find a one-stop shop for all of their entertainment needs.

So, has Apple really bridged the gap between these seemingly polar opposite groups of people? Are we now able to reach both demographics similarly? Do we not have to rely on outdated newspapers or expensive direct marketing tactics anymore to reach seniors? Has Apple truly revolutionized the way users of all ages interact with media and consume advertising messages?

This thought first came to my mind when I had to tell my grandmother to put her iPhone away at the movies, as she was distracting the people around her with the bright, illuminated screen. “Obsessed” is an understatement when you try to describe her relationship with her smartphone. When a question comes up at the dinner table, she is now the first one to whip out her phone and google the answer. Imagine her reaction when news of Apple’s iPad surfaced.

The launch of Apple’s iPad was specifically geared to accommodate the needs and wants of the older generation. Its user-friendly, easily-navigable features on a large tablet display makes it the ideal method for people of all ages to download books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and applications. It is fully equipped for people to check their email, browse the Internet, and do a bit of Facebook stalking on the go.

Why is Apple able to achieve this mass market appeal with each of its products? Was it the first company to invent an MP3 player, or the first to manufacture a smartphone or tablet? Absolutely not. However, its products’ sleek design, touchscreen capability, ease of connectivity to the Internet, and a host of other bells and whistles are some of the main attributors to such a successful product pipeline.

That being said, there’s an important piece of the puzzle that is undeniably the reason for such a large market penetration. It’s how Apple communicates with its audience that puts it so far ahead of its competitors. No other company establishes a level of emotional connectivity with their audience in a similar way. Who would ever think that a software company could appeal to your emotions?

Think about a Car Company A, versus Car Company B. Car Company A emphasizes strictly the features of its brand with its tagline, “Our cars are fast” while Car Company B emphasizes the features and benefits of its brand with its tagline, “Our fast cars will score you a hot date.”

This one minor tweak in your advertising strategy will make all the difference in appealing to your audience. People never buy products strictly for what they do, but for how it will enhance their lives. Each brand has a story to tell to capture the eyes and ears of the mass audience. Don’t ruin it with a sorry opening line.

Take this simple word of advice when crafting your subject line in your next email marketing campaign and note the difference in your results. Also, take a couple of minutes to read a recently published blog article entitled Email Marketing Subject Lines You Never Want to Use as a guide to how to peak viewer interest rather than encouraging them to mark your email as “spam.”

Given that it has never been easier in this digital age to reach the millennials and the greatest generation via similar marketing channels, you now have the opportunity to maximize your market potential and reach a broader audience. The success of your marketing strategy now lies in tapping into the emotions of your audience.

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