Know Your Audience

Generational Differences Should Change Your Marketing

Understanding the influences our audiences have in their lives and psyche are crucial to user experience. While you needn’t know every detail, you must have an understanding of generational differences, beyond the cursory understanding provided by the media. Choose your words based on your audience, and your connections will be more real.

B-Gen-header-1tradb Know Your Audience

KNOWN AS: Veterans, Silent, Moral Authority, Radio Babies, The Forgotten Generation

CHARACTERISTICS: Raised by parents that just survived the great depression. Experienced hard times while growing up which were followed by times of prosperity. They’re influenced by… WWII, Korean War, Great Depression, New Deal, Rise on Corporations, and The Space Age.

VALUES: honor, compliance, sacrifice, dedication, hard work, good attitude, attendance, practical knowledge, loyalty

Looking for recognition and respect for their experience, value placed on history/ traditions, job security and stability, reputation, defined rules and policies, with adherence to the same, integrity and a willingness to act.


  • Be discrete
  • Show respect for their age/experience (address formally)
  • Use good grammar andmanners, absolutely noprofanity, dramatically limit slang
  • Deliver your message basedon history and traditionswhenever possible
  • Present your story in a formal, logical manner
  • Don’t waste their time
  • Use inclusive language (we, us)
  • Focus-words not body language
  • Be slow to “warm up”
  • Whenever possible, use hand written notes, less email, and more personal interaction
B-Gen-header-2bb2 Know Your Audience

KNOWN AS: “Me” Generation, Moral Authority

CHARACTERISTICS: They question everything and are slow to trust. They handle crisis well. Ambitious, anti-establishment, competent, idealistic, and live to work. They dislike conflict. Often challenging the authority of Traditionalists, and are judgmental if others disagree. Highest divorce rate and 2nd marriages in history. They’re influenced by… Civil Rights, Vietnam War, Sexual Revolution, Cold War, Space Travel.

VALUES: family loyalty, involvement, personal gratification, personal growth.

Post War Babies who grew up to be radicals of the 70’s and yuppies of the 80’s, “The American Dream” was promised to them as children and they actively pursue it. As a result they are sometimes viewed as materialistic or ambitious.


  • Be diplomatic
  • Communicate in person whenever possible
  • Speak openly and directly
  • Use body language to communicate
  • Present options (this group responds to flexibility)
  • Use electronic communications as well as face to face (direct)
  • Learn what is important to them such as values, priorities, or opinions
  • Answer questions thoroughly and expect to be pressed for details
  • Avoid manipulative/controlling language
  • This group will respond to your “personal touch”
  • Get consensus. This group wants to be included, without you may cause offense
  • Establish a friendly rapport
  • OK to use first names
B-Gen-header-3genx Know Your Audience

KNOWN AS: Gen X, Xers, The Doer, Post Boomers, 13th Generation

CHARACTERISTICS: This is a group of dynamic young leaders with an appreciation for cutting edge systems/technology. They are forward thinking in company environments, and flexible in scheduling. They value input on merit, not age or seniority. They’re influenced by… Watergate, Energy Crisis, Single Parents, First Generation of Latchkey Kids, Y2K, Activism, Corporate Downsizing, End of Cold War, and Increasing Divorce Rates.

VALUES: balance, diversity, entrepreneurial spirit, fun.

They are educated and have high job expectations. Independent, informal, and lack organizational loyalty. They are pragmatists that seek life balance and self-reliance. This group is unimpressed with authority and skeptical of “institutions.”


  • Be direct
  • Be immediate
  • Use straight talk, and present facts
  • Use email as the # 1 tool
  • Learn their language and speak it
  • Use informal communication style
  • Speak in short sound-bytes
  • Share information immediately and often
  • This generation has the potential to bridge the generation gap between the youngest and oldest workers
  • Don’t micro manage them, but rather manage details on their behalf
  • Avoid buzz words and jargon
  • Tie your message to “results”
B-Gen-header-4m2-1 Know Your Audience

KNOWN AS: Generation Y, Gen Y, Generation Next, Echo Boomers, Chief Friendship Officers, 24/7s

CHARACTERISTICS: They value achievement and civic duty, and are confident, avid consumers. They are extremely competitive, and are the most educated generation. They are optimistic and value instant gratification. Eager to spend, ambitious, but not focused. Have been indulged, “me first” attitude, and politically savvy. They have a strong sense of entitlement. They’re influenced by… Their coming of age during a period of economic expansion, who were kept extremely busy as children.


  • Goal Oriented.
  • Prefer diversity, technology, informality and fun.
  • Expect to influence the terms and conditions of their workplace.
  • Have a work ethic that does not mandate 10 hour days.
  • Have high expectations of bosses and managers to be mentors.
  • Want long term work relationships, but on their own terms.

This group believes that because of technology, they can work flexibly anytime, anyplace and that they should be evaluated on work product, not how, when or where it was done.


  • Be polite
  • Use positive, respectful, motivational, electronic communication style (cell phones, email, IM, text)
  • Communicate in person if the message is very important
  • Use email and voice mail as #1 tools
  • Don’t talk down-they will resent it, and you
  • Show respect through language and they will respect you
  • Use action verbs
  • Use language to portray visual pictures
  • Be humorous – show you are human
  • Be careful about the words you use and the way you say it (they are not good at personal communication because of technical ways of communicating)
  • Be positive
  • This group prefers to learn in networks, teams using multimedia while being entertained and excited

How 10 Minutes of Research Changed Manufacturer’s Product Offerings

Where did your last brilliant business idea come from? Was it an aha moment, an epiphany … or was it from something you read or saw that sparked your idea?

Our Lawn and Garden client had been selling trellises online and in big box retail locations. These products performed satisfactorily in those retail locations, and the search volume around these items supported those sales.

Digital Campaign Performance vs Sales

B-ResearchOfferings-graph-trellis1 How 10 Minutes of Research Changed Manufacturer’s Product Offerings
B-ResearchOfferings-graph-trellis2 How 10 Minutes of Research Changed Manufacturer’s Product Offerings

But what about similar products? How do they compare?  With a quick review of the search volumes for “lattice,” we quickly discovered that the combined search quantities were three times that of “trellis.”

Our client had both the materials and the capabilities already in place to manufacture this product. With upcoming annual sales meetings, our client used our market research and data to help bolster their pitch for adding lattices to the repertoire of products carried by retailers and distributors. The jury is still out on the final outcome, but it is a shining example of how sales and marketing can align to drive strategy and key decisions.

Real World Example: Traffic, Conversions, and Sales

What’s most important: Site Traffic, Site Conversions, or Sales Dollars? Trick question. Separate but equal, each of these outcomes is inter-dependent.

This graph shows the actual performance for three of our client’s product lines.

Digital Campaign Performance vs Sales

B-SearchVSales-graph2 Real World Example: Traffic, Conversions, and Sales

Starting with picnic tables, the search volume is significant. At first glance at the search results alone, it appears this is a product collection in need of supportive advertising and additional attention. But if you look a little closer, the actual site conversions for this product are low, along with the percentage of total sales generated by picnic tables. This isn’t where we should be investing our client’s marketing dollars.

In contrast, the fencing products generated a similar amount of search volume, but accounted for a much larger share of actual conversions, site sessions (research!) and sales. In fact, for a similar search volume, the sales are more than 60% higher than that of picnic tables. This indicates that the return on the paid search investment is more than 13 times that of picnic tables. Knowing this, should we consider whether a change in the spend will increase the return percentage? Could we spend less and see similar results?

In lawn and garden, our spend hasn’t generated the sales we’d hope to see. This might indicate that an optimization in our keywords is necessary, that our geographies should be reviewed, or that our content should be analyzed for SEO value.

What does your analysis tell you about your own business?

Real World Example: Developing Conversions Online, and Testing your Theories

When we’re working with Business to Business companies, we think about site conversions differently. While the goal is to generate sales for the items our client manufactures, our B2B clients are selling to the seller of their goods, rather than the end user. As their agency, our job is to help them generate interest and measure the effectiveness of their marketing. One of the ways we do this is by using exit links.

Using Exit Links

Our client’s site offers plenty of great information on the products they manufacture. Photos, dimensions, and other details are readily available, along with where these items can be purchased. Enter the exit link: the spot where the consumer leaves the manufacturer’s site to purchase the item from their preferred retailer or find a distributor who carries it.


B-ExitLinks-Graph1 Real World Example: Developing Conversions Online, and Testing your Theories
B-ExitLinks-Graph2 Real World Example: Developing Conversions Online, and Testing your Theories

This graph identifies the sales volume found within each retailer, versus the percentage of times that site visitors on the manufacturer’s website clicked to each of these purchase locations. Retailers A, B, and C are no surprise. These are the largest, most well-known retailers for the industry. But the smaller distributors are outselling the pace of their exit link percentage. This might indicate an opportunity ripe for some strategic marketing in those areas, using co-op to generate a stronger partnership for the brand. Or, it might represent a consumer sentiment shift from big-box to small or independent retailer. Either way, this trend is something to watch, and should be used to confirm that the marketing activities are the right ones.

Customer Relationship Management: Use Your Data for Big Results

Written by Advance 360, this content was originally published in The Retail Jeweler.

It’s easy to overlook the value of your Point of Sale (POS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems when assisting a guest in your store. Seeing others requiring your attention — whether staff or client — can seem more important in the moment. But using your own customer data, you can finely tune the message to your existing clientele, dramatically improving the yield from relationships you already have.

Article-UseDataForResults Customer Relationship Management: Use Your Data for Big Results

You likely know (without looking!) the most requested pieces in your inventory. You may even be able to quote the margin on those pieces, naming the profit each time one or more sells. But would you know the characteristics of the individuals that purchased these, in order to create more clientele that are looking for similar items? What about direct marketing efforts that could anticipate or even suggest that a client you know will make a visit to the store? With data, it’s possible.

Understanding your Client List
With the savvy running of a few reports from your system, trends can rapidly become apparent. You might start with segments of the business, like diamonds, bridal, fashion, repair or custom designs. Inside each of these segments, your “best” clients can be easily determined. Perhaps you consider them best based on their investment, or possibly based on frequency of visit. Whatever it is that makes them “best,” write it down. Understanding the characteristics of these individuals is what will make your marketing work better.

Now what?
Now, marketing themes emerge. Your “best” fashion jewelry clients visit four times a year, spending $500 each time. Great! Now we know that your advertising should focus on items that fall within these parameters. Message those individuals with advertising that will build upon what you already know about them. What about the rest of the client list for fashion purchases? That comes easily: sending messaging that turns them from small basket to larger basket clients with increasing frequency. Let’s not send advertising to those spending $2,000 annually an ad featuring a small basket purchase. Similarly, let’s not send those spending $250 annually an ad featuring the $2,500 item!

Making More of the Data You Have
The more personal information you have on an individual client, the more readily available they will be to you in the digital space. With a name, email address and phone number, Facebook and Instagram can find and message that person. As you act on growing your client base, these segments can be used to find audiences that share characteristics with those you already have, allowing you to message those that “look alike.”

In retail jewelry, data is the most powerful tool available. Don’t miss an opportunity to capture information that will help you grow your business. Just like revenue is grown one sale at a time, a great marketing strategy is grown one contact at a time.