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Marketing: Bridging the generation gap

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Marketing to prospective clients is tricky business, especially when pursuing clients of a different generation. Working with various generations requires that financial advisors recognize and meet the different values, needs, motives and wants that characterize that age group. For the senior market, this means understanding what makes them tick and applying that knowledge to your sales plan.

The first step to being able to prospect this generation successfully is identifying how they view the world and their money. To J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman, authors of Rocking the Ages: The Yankelovich Report on Generational Marketing, some of the main qualities of this group include:

? They spend money wise and responsibly, yet have reached a point of financial security where they’re less likely to deny themselves life’s pleasures.

? They rate crime and personal safety as among their top concerns.

? They respond well to marketing that plays to the notion that they have faced daunting odds and have reached a point of payoff.

? They generally do not respond as well to marketing that encourages “luxury” or self-indulgent services.

? They are known to respond favorably to marketing that emphasizes introspective or altruistic values and that encourages a sense of community.

So how to apply this knowledge to your prospecting? According to Coming of Age Incorporated, a marketing firm that caters to the baby boomer and senior markets, advertising your business and yourself should be done while reflecting the values of these generations. They recommend five basic concepts to keep in mind as you court the senior client:

1. Autonomy and self-sufficiency- This includes values like independence and participation in the day-to-day activities of their world.

2. Social connectedness- This speaks to their desire to maintain and foster relationships and friendships.

3. Altruism- This relates to their wish to share their knowledge with upcoming generations, their community, family and country.

4. Personal growth- This is connected to a hope for continued learning, regardless of age.

5. Revitalization- This refers to their need to feel rejuvenated, refreshed and excited about new opportunities.

Selling your product to your client often requires many below-the-surface factors. When selling to the senior market, understanding and incorporating their values and motivations into the sale can mean the difference when eyeing a new client. When prospects know their advisor respects their background, it can result in a smooth, profitable transaction for both parties involved.


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