Stephanie Clarke is the Director of Content Marketing at Quadient, responsible for developing and executing Quadient’s global content strategy. Stephanie has more than 14 years of experience in the software, technology and manufacturing industries. She has a proven track record for designing and implementing winning and profitable B2B marketing strategies for global technology brands. Stephanie holds a B.A. from Wilfred Laurier University. She is very active on LinkedIn and Twitter – please connect with her by clicking the icons above.
When an organization has a client base that is composed of multiple generations it’s easy to make assumptions about the desires and wants of each generation based on generalities. Doing this, however, would be unwise.
For example, not every member of an older generation prefers to speak to a live person and not every member at the younger end of the target audience spectrum wants to conduct all of their business over a smartphone.
James Dodkins, of Rockstar CX, concurs, “I think to segment people by arbitrary circumstances like the year range in which they happened to be born is a very Industrial Age way of looking at 21st-century business. The most important thing about a person isn’t their ‘year of manufacture’. We need to be digging deeper to find similarities across the generations and embracing them instead of trying to find the differences.”
With this in mind here are a few things to consider when formulating your journey maps for each generation group in your customer base:
1. Remember, one size doesn’t fit all
Generational journey mapping provides valuable insight into the preferences of an overall group, but you must also probe beyond the generalities. Be sure to consider the outliers as well i.e. those in a generation group who don’t fit the general profile. Outlier findings must be factored into your assessment. Then you must decide how representative these findings are of the group’s preferences.
2. Map deeper
Each lifecycle stage is decidedly different from another but, as underscored above, that doesn’t mean there can’t be similarities as well. The only way to confirm whether there is or not is to go beyond the surface with your journey mapping. Make the commitment to map at a more detailed level so you can get a true understanding of what each generation’s experience is all about. Once you have this insight, you’ll be able to leverage it to forge richer connections with your audience.
3. One generation can influence another
Adding further credence to the importance of taking into account the preferences of a group’s outliers is the fact that one generation can influence another. For example, Baby Boomers who don’t have children may exhibit one set of preferences when it comes to communicating with an organization while Baby Boomers who do have children could exhibit a different set because their view has been influenced by the preferences of their Millennial children.
4. Don’t forget the emotional side
When building your journey maps don’t overlook the emotional aspects of each target group’s journey. A customer’s emotions can influence and dictate goals, help define one person from another and serve as indicators of the impression and impact your organization’s customer experience is making.
5. Be prepared to augment your journey mapping data
Adrian Swinscoe, best-selling author and Forbes contributor on CX, advises organizations to not just rely on data. “Customers are much more than their data. Go and talk to your customers, talk to different generations in different areas that have had different experiences, hang out with them, really get to know them. Only then will you be equipped with the insight and understanding you need to build a multi-generational experience that works.”
The final word on this topic goes to Annette Franz, Founder & CEO of CX Journey Inc. “Don’t design an experience based on generations; design experiences that will solve problems and help customers do the jobs they need to do, regardless of age.”