As I read through my email every morning (noon and night!) I come across news items, or tidbits, that inspire me to hit the print button to get my laser printer humming. Consequently, I have a stack of paper sitting by my right elbow (I'm left-handed, having it hovering on my left would create instant disaster), threatening to embrace gravity and spill onto the floor, where there is a tiny space not occupied by books, newspapers, magazines, and a bit of unidentified 'stuff'...
Today I decided to riffle through these documents, scout out something worthwhile to post, divide the tower of piza stack into something resembling coherence, and-- to my delight-- I came across a neat article from Chicagobusiness.com, published earlier this month.
"Pioneers vs. rising stars" written by Christine Le Beau attempts to bridge the generation gap between Gen Xers and Baby Boomer women, and does a nice job of it. Here's a snippet from the article that I think lends clarity to the title...Beverly Edgehill, vice-president for leadership effectiveness at Fidelity Investments in Boston--go Fidelity! -- says:
"You might have a boomer who says, 'My family is very important to me; that's why I work 80 hours a week, so they have everything they need.' Then, you have the Xers who say, 'My family is very important to me, so I'm going to give you all I have so I can be rewarded accordingly, but I'm also going to be out of here every day at 5 o'clock.' "
In my book, Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online, I have an entire chapter devoted to the differences, and similarites, of the Boomers and Gen Xers. One needs to understand that the term "baby boomers" encompasses a far wider range of age groups than the U.S. cenus includes in their figures. There are many seniors, folks over 60, who qualify themselves as boomers, act like boomers, and identify with the boomers. So it is with the "Gen Xers." The age-range is not cut in stone, despite government attempts to carve it there.
Gen Xers are young people who identify with technology in ways the boomers identified with television. Lumping these young people -- male and female, alike -- into a box with a convenient label, may help the U.S. census keep track of them, but you shouldn't allow it to create a predetermined image of them. Personal friends of mine who are in the Gen Xer group bristle at this label society has slapped on them. This is in sharp contrast to the baby boomers, who not only accept their label, but often wear it proudly.
I offer this thought about this much discussed gender gap; the boomer women who mothered the Gen Xers exert a great deal of influence on their young. What do I mean? I mean that young women today are determined to set themselves apart from the crowd, all the while embracing the attitudes and desires of the group they belong to-- demanding individuality, but influenced by each other-- but in the end, they go back to Mom for her input. And, while they have their favorite stores, they still visit and shop at the stores (or websites) Mom introduced them to.
So it is. And so it has been for eons. The boomer women were influenced, in their youth, by their mothers, also. Mothers and daughters who talk...it's a cycle that will continue into the next millennium.
Once you understand that women are the shoppers of the world, and that they shop for others more than they shop for themselves, you have a good start on making more sales this year. Going that next step, understanding that in their capacity as major consumers who do most of the shopping at home, and influence much of the shopping at work, baby boomer women have the power to generate attention for you, puts you ahead of your competitors. Now, if you can get this thought into your head, that the daughters of the baby boomer women-- who are stronger, often more educated, and fiercely determined to hold their own in the business world their mothers fought to be a part of-- still look to Mom for many of their life decisions, including decisions about what product to buy, what clothes to wear (not the actual item, perhaps, but advice on color choice, design, price, and more), and what business services to use, you are poised for a homerun.
Mothers and daughters, alike, are speaking out in voices that don't merely demand to be heard, they refuse not to be heard. Listen carefully to them. They speak the same tongue, but their words don't always mean the same thing. Market to the mother, and entice her to show what you have to her daughter. Market to the daughter and understand that she will likely pass the idea or purchase by her mother before buying. Either way, you win.
What's not to like about that?