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Understanding European customer habits in the light of generational marketing 

kokou adzo

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Customer habits are what drive every company to success. If a business knows what behaviour its clients have during the buying process, it can create better products and shape its marketing strategy. However, understanding these elements requires a thorough analysis of the demographic target audience. That’s because each culture behaves differently despite trends and outside influences. 

Demography is crucial to prioritise, because even European have various tastes ―countries like France and Germany rarely buy household goods online. At the same time, people in the Netherlands prefer purchasing most things online. 

Hence, entering the European market is a real challenge, especially from the perspective of generational preferences. Baby boomers, millennials and Gen Z have distinct behaviours in each country, so penetrating a particular market takes time and resources. But today, we’ll briefly touch on some marketing perspectives on European customer habits. 

What is generational marketing? 

Generational marketing strictly refers to targeting a generation that has similar tastes and purchasing behaviours despite different backgrounds. Depending on the economic times they were born into and the struggles they’ve had to go through as well, these audiences behave in a certain way. 

For example:

  • Baby boomers prefer traditional advertising and easy-to-understand content since they mostly lived without technology during their lives;
  • Generation X also prefers traditional marketing but is difficult to convince to change their beliefs about a brand;
  • Millennials prioritise social and environmental causes but want lower brand prices instead of offers and deals;
  • Generation Z holds massive purchasing power and loves engaging with brands, so they’re into influencer marketing, TikTok and mobile interaction;
  • Generation Alpha is still young, but considering they’ve been born with technology in their hands, they might influence Gen Z regarding their spending on food and drinks;

How can generational preferences influence a company’s marketing strategies? 

Upon creating a marketing campaign, the business must consider different spending behaviours to properly ensure sales channels are on point and that customer support is adequate. Gen X might want to speak with someone on the phone and have a real human interaction, while Gen Z is fine with just a chatbot and a FAQ section to solve their problems. 

But when it comes to creating a marketing campaign, it all goes down to the visual busyness you’d want to put in a social media post, for example. You wouldn’t want to make a post too packed with designs and images; otherwise, your baby boomer target audience will feel overwhelmed. At the same time, Millennials might prefer minimalistic posts that look neat, so you can approach designs like those in the Netherlands. Finally, Gen Z is okay with everything that can be seen as a meme or allows them to engage with the brand. 

What does generational marketing look like in Europe?

In Europe, things are not that different from the rest of the world regarding customer behaviours, but some things might be more or less diverse compared to the US, for example. It all starts with these continents’ city walkability, where Europeans can walk even up to 30 minutes as a regular thing, while in America, most retailers are too far from residential homes and the infrastructure is built in such a way that they have to drive almost everywhere. 

Considering this, European offline retailers are preferred mainly by older generations, which keeps offline retail at power. The US currently has the highest number of customers who shop online, while European countries like Austria and Finland still go to physical stores to buy products. So, baby boomers, Gen Z and even Millennials might get lured into the physical shop, but Gen Z will definitely get their things with a simple click. 

There are numerous aspects to be considered within a marketing strategy 

Developing a marketing strategy in Europe seems complex―and it is, but it also makes an interesting journey to please customers because you can break it down to the way kids are raised. For example, France’s children depend on their parents emotionally, leading to a society where 

inequality is accepted and seen. This means that the French audience can be segmented closely. 

On the other hand, in Italy, kids are usually less obeyable and prefer teamwork, making their society a place where open management is often a strategy in companies. Considering their culture, Italians are good to please with familiar things, whether relatives talk about a product or it has features of traditionalism. 

How to succeed with a marketing campaign in Europe, no matter what 

The European customer behaviour changed considerably after the pandemic, but we must take these stats with a grain of salt. Despite saving a lot of money during the pandemic, European clients tend to be more selective when choosing their products. Therefore, they’ll thoroughly analyse a product’s quality, environmental impact, age, and the list. At the end of this process, the price will be considered. 

However, when it comes to a marketing strategy, Europeans are also not that easy to impress, especially when we’re talking about well-developed countries where the vast market offers people whatever they want. This applies to almost all generations. 

Still, the younger generation tends to be influenced by trends outside their countries and adopt the American way of dressing or eating, which explains their preference for fast foods. On the other hand, Millennials will look for qualitative and long-lasting products, for which they will look for prestigious brands. 

What’s sure is that the European market has developed, even if traditional methods are still helpful to this day compared to other areas. Therefore, many trends can be applied in a marketing strategy correctly, but they must be altered depending on the country where the business operates. 

Final considerations 

Generational marketing is a newer method of separating customers with the purpose of creating adequate advertisements and products. It also serves as a way to understand better customer habits that are changing constantly. Compared to the US, Europe has different tastes regarding foods, clothes and such, which is why entering these markets as a new company must be done thoroughly and with a lot of research. 

 

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Startup.info.

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