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Millennials biggest beneficiaries
Those who benefit most from this business model are the millennials – those who reached adulthood at the end of the 20th century – who have not as yet made enough money to buy all the things they desire. Rather than buy things they would use only off and on, they prefer to pay a bit and get to use these resources for the short time-period that they need them.
The sharing economy or collaborative consumption or peer-to-peer network, as it is also known as, thus sits easy on the pocket. It involves sharing houses, cars, bicycles, and even things like vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, cameras, fancy crockery and cutlery, furniture and even daily chores etc.
As they advance in career
But once these millennials advance in their career and spending capacity, they are likely to become less interested in “sharing”. They can afford solo ownership and will probably move out of the sharing economy. The convenience of owning resources outweighs the cost involved in acquiring them. So given this potential situation, how does the sharing economy survive? Who will use the offerings of the sharing economy?
Research and marketing experience have shown that it is not the millennials alone who are into the concept of sharing. The older generation is also a likely target group for these types of “shared” resources. With retirement people’s incomes decrease. With today’s smaller homes it is difficult to accommodate new purchases. As one grows older it becomes increasingly difficult to conduct many tasks, – all these lead to the older generation also becoming open to the concept of the sharing economy. Therefore, participants of the sharing economy need to include this segment of consumers also when they market their products and services.
How to appeal to this segment?
So how does one appeal to this segment and offer them the products and services that are on the sharing platform? Marketing strategies vary by products, services, target audience etc. But some which are likely to have a greater impact on the older generation could be these:
- This segment is wary of using new technology like answering machines, recorded services, emails etc. They prefer talking to humans. So take advantage of this and have a telephone service that potential customers can use to contact you.
- These customers are comfortable with and respond to old-fashioned advertising channels such as radio print, leaflets, handouts, etc. Develop a strategy that makes use of these channels to connect with the older generation.
- Get in touch with the younger family members of the older generation – they can become the conduit for you to reach the older segment.
- Make your communication easy to understand so that is strikes a chord with your target audience. Its only when they are in sync with the advertising message that they will respond positively.