5 Tips for Marketing to the Next Generation of Decision Makers

Tyler Nall | Feb 01, 2016

My friends and I have noticed a change in our offices over the past few years. More and more, we’re seeing members of our own generation rising into management positions.

As a member of NextGen, and a marketer, I get that it’s important to understand what shapes the decisions we make and how it differs from previous generations. Much has been written about how we grew up with more choices than our predecessors and how we’re more likely to seize on opportunities to create our own personal and professional destinies. But, there is more to it than that and it comes down to communication, which, let’s face it, is a sticking point in every generational shift.

With that in mind, here are five things you may want to think about when reaching out to us professionally and as consumers.

  • Let us lead. We would rather be educated and empowered in our decisions than be on the receiving end of a hard sell. By refining your communications strategy and appearing in places where we’re more likely to “discover” you, you’ll come across as more genuine about understanding our challenges. That will make us more receptive to considering your solutions.
  • Show—don’t tell. We like being involved, especially when it’s with something related to our passions and concerns. We need to understand how your products and services fit into our lives. To do that, you may want to consider letting us experience what you have to offer either virtually or in real time. Honestly, we’re not likely to trust that it meets our needs on your say-so alone, no matter how well designed your brochure or website is. We want demos, videos, samples and trial periods.
  • Value our opinions…because we do. Ask us what we think and encourage us to share those thoughts. Although, truthfully, if we like what you’re selling or saying, chances are we’ll already be talking about it, tweeting it, reviewing it and uploading photos of ourselves using/doing it. Sharing is second nature to us. Provide places for us to do this by having a social presence and encouraging your customers to share their stories—in compliance-friendly ways, if that is an issue.
  • Like to be liked. Understand that we don’t just consume—we distribute information about the products and services we use. Whether you want us to be or not, we’re part of your marketing effort. Recognize that. Identify and encourage your advocates. Follow them and, above all, learn from them—it’s how you can refine your message to resonate with more of us. This means adding flexibility to your strategies.
  • Stay in the moment. Watch what’s trending—from technology to social apps, colors and design. Why? Because we do. But, help put all of this into perspective and give it context. Provide insight we can’t get anywhere else. It’s the best way of getting us to return to your site. Remember, we are the most highly educated generation, ever—we read, just not for very long. There is too much information competing for our attention. Keep it short and to the point.

At Blue Flame Thinking, we believe that taking the time to rethink how you communicate with our demographic doesn’t just allow you to stay in the game. It can, with the help of our collective insight and experience, put your brand ahead of the competition.


Contact Lynne Hartzell at lhartzell@blueflamethinking.com or call 312.382.9000 to learn more.



Tyler Nall

Tyler combines innovative strategy with the latest delivery platforms to craft customized media campaigns with proven success.

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