Tips to Market to the Sandwich Generation

By Miranda Tenhove
August 17, 2017

When you are thinking about marketing to the Sandwich generation, it is important to consider exactly who they are. We live in such a technology leading age that requires businesses to know how, when, and where to connect with their target audience. The Sandwich Generation includes those adults who are currently supporting their children (at any age), and at the same time providing support or care for their parents. This should sound familiar to anyone is who between the ages of 36–65.

Support could mean many different things. Maybe you have children or parents in the same household, provide financial support for both a college student and an aging parent; or, maybe support for you means driving your parent around to run errands. Either way, this is a juggling act. You are Sandwiched between two Generations and somehow evolved into a super mom (or dad).

42% of the Sandwich Generation are made up of Gen-Xers (ages 36-56) and 33% are Baby Boomers (ages 57-71). Daughters still remain the most influential when it comes to caring for the aging parents and they are seeking helpful advice for their loved one rather than being sold to.

shutterstock_287823248Lets take a look at our friend Kathy. Kathy is 46 years old which would make her part of Generation X. She is married with one 16 year-old daughter. She graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree and is now an Insurance Agent. Her and her husband make around $125,000 a year. Her mother and father are both living and are 71 years old. In her free time, she likes to hang out with other adults who have children that are the same age as her child. She is an active smart phone user and also uses social media to stay connected with her friends and family.

KathyKathy’s goal is to help her parents sell their current house. Her parents are looking for a smaller house to maintain. At the same time, she is saving and preparing for her 16 year old to go to college in two years. The challenge is that she works full time and has very little time to juggle between her teenager and her aging parents. Because of this, she relies heavily on the interned and spends time house hunting for house and colleges online.

In order for businesses to reach Kathy,
they must have websites that are easy to navigate. Businesses should also have a way to reach out after business hours to inquire about information or even offer extended business hours. Businesses should utilize referral programs because Kathy relies heavily on input from her friends and families. An easy way for businesses to do this would be through online reviews.

Now time to meet Nancy.shutterstock_403802632 Nancy is 57 years old which makes her a young Baby Boomer. She is married and has 3 children. She has a 20 year-old daughter that is currently in nursing school, a 24 year old son who just graduation college with a bachelors degree in biology, and a 27 year old son who is married with a 2 year-old daughter. Nancy graduated college and is now a Finance Manager at a pharmaceutical company. She and her husband make around $175,000 a year. She takes care of her mother who is now 89 years old. Her peers include family and long time friends (other empty nest couples). She is an active smart phone user and spends a lot of time on social media to connect with her friends and family (especially her children). Nancy uses photo and video sharing apps to communicate with her tech-savvy children and grandchild.

Nancy’s goals are to find a senior living facility for her mother, somewhere that she feels comfortable with and a place that provides multiple stages of care. She is also trying to financially support her daughter who is currently away at college. Nancy’s challenges include trying to fulfill the needs of everyone in the family, all the way from her grandchild to her mother while coordinating doctors appointments, transportation, grocery shopping etc. Her mother is outliving her finances and she needs financial support from Nancy. Nancy and her husband are also trying to plan for their retirement and need to figure out how much longer they need to work in order to retire comfortably.

shutterstock_403782409In order for businesses to reach Nancy, they should extend their hours. Nancy utilizes the internet to look for “deals”. She has very little time for herself, so she often uses her lunch hour and nights and weekends to get things done.

Both Kathy and Nancy are big consumers of online content. They are both pressed for time because they are working while managing the needs for their parent(s) and children. Kathy is more likely to consume content between 8pm and 12am when she finally gets a chance to sit down after working all day, running errands and preparing meals for her family. Nancy has a little more time from 9am – 12pm. She is in a senior role at work and has more flexible work hours.

31% of Gen-Xers and 19% of Baby Boomers are using the internet almost constantly. 50% of Gen-Xers and 48% of Baby Boomers are using the internet several times per day. Someone like Kathy or Nancy have regular access to the internet at any given time. 98% of all Adults own a mobile phone and 81% own a smart phone. This means both Kathy and Nancy have easy access to the internet right in the palm of their hand.

Sandwich Generation Chart 1

 

Sandwich Generation - Chart 2As you can see, the Sandwich Generation is a busy, yet reachable group of people. By really diving into who they are, you can learn when and where to best reach them. This is a group that is mobile focused and needs businesses to be just as flexible as they are.