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

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.

Content Marketing: Did you know?

Marketing experts saw the shift long ago. They’ve preached that “content is king” for years. But what does that really mean?

Custom content, written, produced, or designed for specific segments of your audience offers a truly personalized experience. It feels bespoke — designed just for the shape, size, or attributes of your best customer.


78% of these marketers believe that custom content is the future of marketing.

Start small. Create a single infographic and an accompanying article. Position them appropriately on your website. Then pull graphic elements from the infographic into digital ad units, targeted to the clientele most impacted by that statistic. Link back to the full article and creative, and watch what happens.


50% of budget for in-bound marketing strategies, significantly decreasing the cost per acquisition. Some report as much as 3x the leads from these activities.

Shift spending from traditional media, where limited personalization is possible, and refine your tactics to more unique messaging that will have an impact. Try this exercise: Pen a series of 2-3 paragraph organizational updates, based on the different generations of your audience. Note how the language should change as the audience’s characteristics change. Expand this thinking into web content, social media, and other promoted materials, based on the audience you’ve selected to reach.

60% of your audience will look for the product after reading about it, and 90% report finding it useful.

Does that mean you need to buy advertorials in all of your traditional print placements? No. It means you should be looking at Google reviews, sites that recommend your products, and putting testimonials on your site. It means that you need to be thinking about partners that can describe your product to their audiences, expanding your reach. Get guerilla, get grass roots. This is about uncovering opportunities, not painting marketing efforts with broad strokes.


70% of your audience says that engaging with your content makes them feel closer to your brand.

It’s proven: the more interactive the method, the more reward you’ll reap. Plan to mix your media so that you engage as many of the senses as you can. Make it visceral: audio (podcast), graphic (design/artwork). Make it surprising: get whimsical by posting the playlist for your office. Get creative by posting photos of your VP’s children trying to figure out the latest product in your line. Nothing is off the table but silence.

These tips are just the beginning. These will certainly snowball into more! Give these a try, and more will surely follow, along with new business.

Source: Statista

A New Face with a Familiar Voice: Advance 360 Rebrands Statewide Organization

It’s official: the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association has a new name, and a new look for its legacy. Together with partners and members throughout the State of Michigan, Advance 360 guided their journey to their new name and brand, now known as Check In Michigan.

Who is Check In Michigan?

Check In Michigan is an association for the hospitality and tourism industry, leading efforts to benefit hotels, attractions, and hospitality ventures through out the state.

The Scope of Work

Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association, as it was formerly known, knew that they were poised to reinvent themselves. Under new leadership and with a changing landscape for lodging entities with the surge in short-term rental companies like Airbnb, the collective efforts of advocacy on legislation around Post-Labor Day Academic Year, minimum wage and Pure Michigan funding, the work of the association was stronger than ever, but their dated identity no longer served them well.

Advance 360 was contracted to develop charrettes for the stakeholder groups across the state, use the findings to develop a logo and identity system, and launch a new web presence for the association’s conference and institutional websites.

Of this work, Deanna Richeson, President and CEO of Check In Michigan wrote, “Our association has a rich history of 112 years representing a widely diverse industry, and we wanted to forge a stronger future for our hotels, attractions, and hospitality ventures. We envisioned honoring the contributions of those who were before us, and yet opening our arms to embrace younger generations of rising leaders. Clearly this required the skills of master communicators! Over several months, [the Advance 360 Team] created a process that was inclusive, reflective, expansive and thorough. We held several focus groups with a diverse kaleidoscope of hospitality stakeholders, including engaging exercises that gleaned rich insights into the values, emotions and preferences of our participants.”

The Charrette Experience:

B-CheckInMI-stats2 A New Face with a Familiar Voice: Advance 360 Rebrands Statewide Organization

The association’s team recruited a diverse group of open minded individuals to share their thoughts and stories. Activities generated forward iterations on individual ideas, and the groups were able to weigh in personally as well as in groups. From 68 ideas that emerged during these discussions, 16 common themes were forged, crossing the generational, business, and personal preferences of those in the rooms. These themes became the source for creative inspiration for logo designs.

But These Journeys are Rarely Linear

“Just when we thought we were nearing our final stage, MLTA realized we were envisioning a new culture and decided to choose a new name as well a new logo. We were also racing against the clock to announce our new brand at the annual industry conference,” said Richeson.

Advance 360’s regroup was immediate. An additional focus group, called the “Groundswell” was formed to further explore the concept of a new name, build further “buy-in” to this change in direction, and build upon what had already been explored. Activities during this session built to a crescendo around the strategic priorities that would need to be reviewed by the Board of Directors.

This charrette was followed by two board planning sessions to do just that. These sessions were intense for everyone, but harvested the best version of commonality across all the collected data and overcame any hesitation around change for the organization at large. The board was a united team and was energized to “grow forward.”

Now What?

Now the design began. Over a months-long process, the guiding principles of the association were built into a verbal representation of the brand (name) and the visual representation (logo). The group that carried us forward toward that end was formed with executive team members, board members, and a cross section of industry representation.

“None of us looked back, but instead focused on the tasks ahead with a team of stakeholders who met to guide the design process with their input. The result was stunning … a look that was strong, professional, inclusive, inviting, and even a tad fun.”

B-CheckInMI-logo-old2 A New Face with a Familiar Voice: Advance 360 Rebrands Statewide Organization

Former Logo

B-CheckInMI-logo-new3 A New Face with a Familiar Voice: Advance 360 Rebrands Statewide Organization

New Logo

The former logo represented a time when the State Capital served as the center of the lodging and tourism universe for the association. This simply is no longer true. The association has transitioned to an immersive model. The team and board are truly wherever their membership is, and wherever their membership requires them to be. Their multi-faceted mission is more than just advocacy, but has expanded to include education, workforce, and community.

Alongside this rebrand was also the digital presence of the organization, which needed to reflect the energy, momentum and credibility of Check In Michigan to the public.

“Once the brand identity was complete, the final leg of our marathon was creating the “brand reveal.” Our Advance 360 partners created the presentation that will inspire nearly a thousand conference attendees, from scripting to creating an animated video that excites the imagination and “cool factor” among our audience. I am completely confident in the positive reception of our new brand identity, and in the electrified energy the audience will experience at our brand reveal,” said President Deanna Richeson.”

See what conference attendees saw, here.

Advance 360 is an affiliate of Advance Travel & Tourism

Essential Tools for Marketing Managers

Marketing Managers have a lot to juggle when planning and executing their business strategies. From developing content marketing to managing campaign schedules, developing quality creative and tracking its performance, campaigns can become overwhelming, fast. Use these tips on ways to streamline these efforts and keep your project management affordable.

Rebranding can be Daunting, but Results Exciting

Just as our own lives have seasons, generations, or iterations, so do brands. Businesses that experience dramatic growth find themselves telling new stories about capacity, e-commerce, or new product availability. Perhaps the physical space is remodeled, creating an enhanced, in-person experience for your customers. Or, you simply recognize that the brand identity system you have has existed for a number of years, and deserves “refreshing.”

This was the case for a jewelry client. A long-time business, Plata y Oro, was acquired by an established local jewelry designer. With the purchase of the business, the new owner had to evaluate and determine the company’s branding moving forward. Lengthy discussions took place to tackle some tough questions like brand equity in the market, preserving existing clientele, communicating this change. The new iteration of the business would also get a new physical space within the year, and a new website. In all, it was determined that the business would use a new name, as well as a visual identity authentic to the new ownership and business design.

Original Designs

The original Plata y Oro mark was comprised of rounded script, evoking familiarity and warmth, while retaining the strength of the name as its central focal point. It served the business well for a number of years, and was very true to feeling of the business for that season of its life.

Teel-Jeweler-Pyo-old Rebranding can be Daunting, but Results Exciting

New Designs Reflecting the Name Change

The new design changes retained the circular component as the strongest visual que. But the breaks in its border offer an openness, an inclusion of the negative space surrounding. Also important was a modern representation of the name: Teel Jewelers (the last name of the new business owner). It is graphic and modern, but readable, and iterations were crafted to provide opportunities for using a more concise mark when required.

Teel-Jeweler-logo-circle-gray-250 Rebranding can be Daunting, but Results Exciting

Final Deliverables

Developing a new mark isn’t enough alone. It’s the entirety of the identity system, the way that colors, images, type, and visual elements function in congress that generates new brand assets. At Advance 360, we don’t just develop a logo. Instead, we provide a guide or playbook that offers the framework of how these elements should be used now and into the future. This guide provides printers and third party users of the brand reference material for their creations on behalf of the business.

From our clients, “The process for designing something as seemingly simple as a logo is somewhat magical. Looking at what we had before and looking at what we have now is an impressive difference. Our staff sees the difference and is excited and motivated to promote and expand the brand. We love the guidelines, it will be a valuable tool in our marketing going forward.”

Researching a College: The Search Process

Education reporter Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian Media Group has seen colleges in her region get better at marketing qualities that make them special. For example, Whitman College, a small, liberal arts school in Walla Walla, Washington, stresses the breadth of its programs, close working relationships with professors, and a year-long “Encounters” program offering freshman a deep dive into the ongoing value of a liberal arts education. Western Oregon University, which stresses accessibility, recently announced affordability grants to help students meet rising costs.

Yet as the parent of a 16-year-old son, Hammond is learning how challenging the search process can be. Rankings often “read as though they were written by someone sitting in an office crunching numbers,” she says. “People feel overwhelmed.”

Are you overwhelmed developing an effective plan to marketing your University?

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