Friday, August 28, 2009

GenX Marketing Advice from Forrester Research

Targeting Generation X? Try Word of Mouth

Nate Elliott[Excerpted from 8/28/2009 Forrester Research article by Nate Elliott]

If you're a marketer targeting Gen X consumers (between 30 and 43), and you're not using social media or influence marketing, it's time to reevaluate your strategy.

This audience is surprisingly engaged with social media. They're more active than average on nearly every rung of our social technographics ladder -- especially as joiners, with 59% of Gen X consumers telling us they use social networks at least once each month. Best of all, many are using social influence to make product recommendations: 42% say they often tell friends about the products and services that interest them.

So if you want to leverage this sharing behavior to reach Gen X consumers (or any other socially active online audience, for that matter), what should you do?

  • Give all your customers the tools they need to share. Tools like ShareThis and AddThis make it easy to add sharing functionality to your site. And don't forget: as valuable as Twitter and Facebook can be for driving word of mouth, most people make product recommendations through private channels like e-mail and IM.
  • Find -- and leverage -- your brand advocates. Mine your sales database to find your most loyal and valuable customers, and run surveys to find users who think most highly of your brand and are most likely to pass the word along.
  • Don't forget the power of offline influence. Online influence can work wonders, but offline influence is both more common (see Figure 11) and more powerful (see page 18). Savvy marketers are using social media to organize offline events where customers can energize each other around products and brands, and to create and manage ambassador programs that extend both online and off.

My Take

Nate's practical advice and clear data is compelling.

Bottom line - if your target clients are aged 30 to 43, they're using social media to talk about you. It's a race between you and your competitors - the earlier you engage your customers and neighbors on social media there the more new sales you'll book.

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