I tried to copy the outline of this session verbatim. It was my first live blogging session and it was tough for me to collect all the ideas and comment on them without missing something. Only now can I add some comments about the content of this section. Initially I really liked the approach that was taken. Developing characters that we could identify each generation with was really smart. The one problem Raines had and maybe that was just a function of the length of the session or a function of her presentation, I am not sure. Either way, the core of what I was expecting was to hear how to appeal to Xers and Boomers. There were some good things that were, at best, reinforcing the obvious and seemed pretty superficial to me. She made a point of saying that one should not talk to baby boomers using language that appeals to more to nexters? Of course not. Something that might have been more valuable is how does an association target and appeal more to nexters. What techniques or approaches can they take in their marketing efforts? Use a blog, more digital content, an digitally accessible community? Knowing some of these key issues that Raines points out about each generation are a great starting point. These are the audiences that associations are struggling to reach. The question remains, how can we use what we now know about each of these audiences to more effectively communicate and create more participation?

Key Theory – What shaped us when we were growing up.

Titanium Rule – Do unto others…

  1. Try and get generation speaking the right language
  2. Generation lens to review marketing
    1. Mission statements are written by baby boomers and are too vague or not appealing to younger markets
  3. Solicit feedback from focus groups and representative individuals
  4. Ask members and prospective members about their needs and preferences
  5. Develop a strong value proposition that appeals to your generation
  6. Foster acceptance of other generations perspectives

Introducing four people:

  1. George – mid 60’s, been with org since dirt.
    1. WWII was the key event of his childhood
    2. Conserving was what they were all about – think washing out plastic babbies
  2. Patricia – just turned 50 (baby boom generation), been with org for a long time…very dependent on organization.
    1. Post WWII, the economy was booming
    2. Career path for a woman was either nurse or teacher
    3. Dr. Spock was a prominent element in raising children
    4. Generation that was going to change the world – 1967 Awarded baby boomers as “Man of the Year”
  3. Derek – early 30’s (generation X) member of association just by name, not very involved and not a joiner.
    1. Economy was on a roller coaster – stagflation
    2. Most mothers were working moms and lots of latchkey children
    3. Played Nintendo and Atari
    4. Had seen 16,000 murders by the time he was 16 on television/movies: Exorcist, My Two Dads
    5. Pushes for work/life balance, might feel that an association is more like work
  4. Ashley – 20ish, a bright new young gal
    1. Digital in diapers – 2/3 used a computer before they were 5 years old
    2. Fall of the Soviet Union
    3. Release of Nelson Mendel
    4. Focused on children
    5. Carry day timers, worried about stress
    6. Kids reading at unprecedented rates
    7. Girls movement – “hold my snowboard while i kiss your boyfriend”
    8. Positive, goal oriented, volunteer oriented
    9. WWII generation is we connect with, Gen X is too high strung

1940 – 1960 – Defined as baby boomers (70% of the workforce)
1960 – 1980 – Defined as Gen X (20% of the workforce)
1980 – 2000 – Defined as millennial generation – Gen Y or Nexters (10% of the workforce, 30% of the population at large)

Focusing on one element of diversity – Generations.

  1. What is the average member age of your association?
  2. What is the generational make-up of your membership?
  3. What is the generational make-up of your active involvement?
  4. What is the generational make-up of your board?
  5. What is the generational make-up of your staff?
  6. Which generation do your products and services mostly appeal to?
  7. If your org was a member of a generation was a member, which generation would it be a member of?
  8. Voluntarism is up

Six Generational Trends:

  1. Average member age in many associations is 50+
  2. Found it harder to recruit members in the last 10-15 years
  3. Number of volunteers and active involved members has declined
  4. Board/Staff/Org style often don’t match membership style
  5. Products & services are sometimes planned by one generation for another
  6. Fear and guilt have lost their clout

Written by

Zachary Wilson

I enjoy reading & writing about the web and digital marketing. My day-to-day focuses on ensuring our clients have big wins. That begins with extraordinary website design and UX. The real exciting stuff is helping develop strategies to drive traffic (on-site page optimization) and help conversion rate optimization (getting new sales and / or customers). With all my “other” time, I enjoy exploring new adventures with my 3 daughters and wife.