Millennial; Gen Y; Gen C; these are all names to describe the people currently binge-watching Netflix and keeping the Buzzfeed "10 Reasons You know You're a..." articles alive. Yes, I am most likely talking about you. Google defines "Generation C" (the C is short for Content) as:
"...a powerful new force in culture and commerce. Sixty-five percent are under 35 but they span the generations, empowered by technology to search out authentic content that they consume across all platforms and all screens, whenever and wherever they want."
Basically, these people are "in the know" and won't be fooled by todays' mass marketing bullshit. They want authenticity and they want it now.
So how do you as a business owner stand out from the crowd and develop real, tangible relationships with a demographic that is constantly pounded by ad campaigns and marketing tactics every hour of the day? We're here to show you how.
Six Key Principles to Attracting Generation C Customers
First off, no one is going to care what you're selling or what you're all about if you're not relatable. People don't buy what you do they buy why you do it. This is why we take our clients through an extensive target demo analysis. How can you know what your customer wants if you don't also know their favorite cereal or what times of day they search the web? Your M.O. should be figuring out how to relate to them and what makes them emotionally connected to a product or service.
Once you figure out who your customer is, celebrate the hell out of every single thing they believe in. Generation C falls within the Millenial range, which means they received a trophy and graduation party upon moving from Kindergarten to First Grade. They like to be recognized. Find out what makes your customers unique from the norm and cater your product or service towards that. Did Lauren tag a photo of your knitted coasters being used as a wall installation on Instagram? Re-gram the hell out of that. Send her an extra pack of coasters to build her coaster wall monster. Gen C will always find a way to make products their own, and this should be acknowledged by the business they interacted with.
If you'd read Gary Vaynerchuck's brilliant social media strategy book Jab Jab Jab, Right Hook, you're familiar with the idea of giving value more than you ask for a sale. Gen C doesn't want to be asked to buy something. They want to feel it. They want to feel you. The transaction happens naturally.
Real profits with Gen C don't appear until transaction 1, 2, or even 3.
This is exactly why we catalog a sales funnel with our clients; it's important to list out all of the ways you're giving value to your consumer, whether it be through a physical product or a digital e-book or blog series. Find out what your customer wants and needs, and then give it to them absolutely free. Yes, I just said free.
Generation C is an individualistic crowd. They don't want a site full of a million products, they want recommended products based on their purchase history and what they've been tweeting about. But you don't have to be Amazon or Facebook to instill this type of personalization, it's just called legendary customer service. Try bunching your products together by a type of person or lifestyle they support vs. actually type of product. If you're a leather goods company, don't list your products by "bags, wallets, shoes". Give me the option to browse by "The Gypsy Collection" or "The Lone Ranger Collection". Acknowledge that your customer is a person and not a robot. Repeat: they are not a robot.
Teaching is an opportunity to not only educate your consumer as to why they should want/need your product, but it positions you as an expert in your field. No different than with this blog post I'm writing right now (a lesson on practicing what you preach), your customer wants to know that you're both A. knowledgeable and B. excited about what you do. Offering an e-course or just pumping out really awesome blog content gives your business some clout and diminishes any doubt your customer may have about you or what you sell. The best part about teaching is that you're inadvertently selling, you're just giving content that leads up to a sale (and hopefully a life long customer).
Alright. You might as well close up shop and find your nearest cubicle if this last pointer doesn't ring true. You have to actually care. There are two parts to this: 1. recognize your customer's experiences and make a conscious effort to fix, tweak, or eliminate your products/services in order to offer a better product. This is a business; not a hobby. Repeat: this is a business, not a hobby. As a business, you're going to evolve and morph as time goes on, not because you got tired of making bead jewelry but because 8/10 of your customers complained about the quality of your materials and really wish you would start expanding your cast bronze line into bracelets and cuffs. Listen to your consumer. Relish in online reviews - even the bad ones - and see them as a proven way to foster success vs. a grumpy internet troll. People who leave negative reviews aren't really trying to bash your business; they're trying to give you clues on how to be better. Own it, and evolve.
2. Stop with the "we donate 10% of all profits to charity" bullshit. What may have started with good intentions looks like more of a marketing ploy that gets lost in the philanthropic noise business' are putting out these days. Gen C doesn't fall for this. If you truly want to make a difference with local animal shelters, why not dedicate 10% of your time to offering products / services directly to them. Or, commit to taking on 1 pro bono client per month with the cause of your choice. Turn it into a theme and blast the hell out of it on social media; it's not the sharing that bothers people, it's the two pennies you're trying to put into the pot in order to look good. Tom's gives an actual pair of shoes for every pair they sell. Be more like Tom.
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The framework for this article was strongly influenced by the beautiful words that come out of this man's mouth. Happy stalking.