After attending a leadership conference at Microsoft last week, I am more in tune with the fact that there are four very important generations in our workforce, and that these groups each have some distinct ideals and interests; along with phrases and images that appeal to them more than other groups. With a disdain for generalizations or categorizations (that’s the borderline GenXer in me) – I did see some clear distinctions between age groups.
As a Baby Boomer (the largest group in the workforce today) I found it interesting how we tend to surround ourselves with other Baby Boomers, and we are generationally focused just on us (Boomers hire other Boomers for many key roles of responsibililty). They often market to other Boomers too.
A big takeaway as it relates to sales for me was that the words we use and the messaging we send out caters to certain ages. Now I knew this from a basic marketing standpoint, but presenter Cam Marston articulated the common mistake most companies have with their messaging in that we don’t realize who we are leaving out in the conversation. He showed a few TV ads geared at the youngest group in our workforce today, the generation born in 1979 and later – and how the military and some top accounting firms have changed their message to attract these candidates. We saw video that catered to each generation. Cam offers good distinctions between ages here.
We can exclude entire generations by what we say, how we market, what images we show, how we hire, and how we represent who we are. It is a powerful lesson for sellers – review your scripts or your “message”. If you are missing out or not connecting with people – alter the message and check the results. Hire people not like you, if you truly want to expand who does business with your company. As the “in charge” generation of Boomers – we won’t always be. Now is a good time to diversify and at least be more open about what you’re seeing and saying.