When it comes to the housing industry, do you target one audience all the time? As marketers, it’s easy to target and focus solely on one audience. However, in housing, that audience is always shifting and moving from one targeted message to another. As students graduate, they move into conventional apartments or lease single-family homes unless they’re in a position to buy a house. This is also a time when they may start looking for housing for their aging parents and begin paying attention to the needs of an older generation, depending on where they fall in terms of age range. Although it doesn’t happen in a split second, the target audiences are always getting older and moving on through a shifting need in the industry.
With this shifting audience and the wave of trends that appeal to them, it’s important to take into account your audiences’ changing values and what they need when looking for a home. When a student is in college and mom and dad are paying the bills, it’s easy to think that the hottest amenities are all that matter. However, as those students enter the job market and have their own budgets for housing, their priority may shift from amenities to location or finding the best value. As the audience grows older, it’s important to take into account the messaging you use to target the same people even one year apart. Consider the following when you target your marketing message to a specific audience.
The Silent Generation
Born between 1927 and 1945, the Silent Generation are mostly in or looking for senior living options.
- Most research and decision making is done by their children
- Utilize simple website designs and easy functionality to be most effective
- Promote social aspects of senior living through Facebook, but don’t rely too heavily on this for your general marketing approach
- Consider utilizing print advertising in local newspapers as this generation has avid readers
Currently around 51–69 years old, Baby Boomers are typically settled into their own homes and are considering senior living options or active retirement homes.
- Retirement is not a time to settle down, but rather a time to start checking items off their bucket lists — make sure to highlight community aspects and active lifestyles
- Keep things simple and avoid trying to be overly catchy in your messaging
- Good, honest customer service is key
- Use social media as a reminder for your product, but don’t expect high engagement or communication in return
Generation X is at its prime with members ranging from 35–50 years old. For the most part, these individuals are settled into their careers and may be looking to rent conventionally or make decisions for their parents for senior living opportunities.
- As savvy Internet users, this generation is quick to search online for options, making SEO and online brand presence crucial
- Single or divorced persons may be very independent, and renting becomes a better option than owning
- Promote your brand as a whole rather than simplifying as just a roof and four walls
- Time is precious — deliver information quickly and efficiently through social media and simple messaging
Covering a wide range of individuals from college students to young 30s, Millennials were born roughly between 1981–2000. These individuals are currently looking for student housing and shifting into conventional apartments and single-family homes.
- Consider an 80/20 approach — target 80% of your messaging to Millennials, and the other 20% to their parents or guarantors who may be key decision makers, especially in student housing decisions
- Convenience is key — use simple scheduling tools to allow Millennials to sync tours and events with their busy calendars
- Online presence is important, and information needs to be available and easily accessible at all times
As generations shift into new target markets, consider promoting your brand and instilling brand loyalty within your audience. This will not only help you to market more effectively to your current audience, but can go a long way in promoting positive word of mouth for future audiences. Look at the entire housing industry as you plan your marketing strategy, and keep in mind that audience shifting occurs every year. Keeping these tips and strategies in mind will go a long way to not only helping you create a lifetime renter, but to also ripple down and have a positive long-term effect for your brand.