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Maintaining the new online clientele and accommodating the needs of digital and non-digital generations

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Learning Outcomes

Objectives and goalsClick to read  

At the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the needs of today’s online clientele
  • Work through Generational differences
  • Attract new clients through digital means
  • Make things easier for non-digital clients


Understand the needs of today’s online clientele

What are online clientele?Click to read  

In just about every business today it is hard to find a client that is not in some way digitally connected (online)(.  There are various forms of online customers:

Pure online
Pre-dominantly online
Somewhat online
Extremely limited online/digital presence


An online customer is viewed as one whose primary mode of connection (marketing, customer service etc.) is through an online channel.  They have limited in-person contact with their suppliers – this has become much more prevalent through the pandemic. 



The needs for online clientele include:

Ease and convenience
Clear customer interface (intuitive)
Clear information (including pricing and delivery)
Rapid response customer service
Order anytime, anywhere, on any device
Level of personalization
Generational differencesClick to read  

There are, arguably, six generations of online clientele in today’s marketplace (dates of birth vary).

Baby Boomers à 1946 to 1964

Generation X (Lost Generation) à 1965 – 1980 à Digital immigrants

Generation Y (Millennials) à1981 – 1995 à Digital pioneers

Generation Z à 1997 – 2012 à Digital Natives, have always known the internet


Each generation is tending to look for different things in their online interactions.  We will focus on Millennials (Generation Y:) and Generation Z given their purchasing power and the fact that there is abundant information available on them and they make up the majority of pure/pre-dominantly online customers identified earlier (together worth nearly $3 trillion)

Work through generational differences

Generation Y (Millennials) 1981 – 1995Click to read  

Some of the unique characteristics of this generation as online consumers include:

Electronic word of mouth (EWOM) is very important (82% say ‘critical’)
Strongly prefer digital communication
90% extensively research before purchase
Search for speciality products
Health conscious, cook less, interested in wholesale
Lower volume, higher quality purchases (branded)
Generation Z 1997 - 2012Click to read  

Some of the unique characteristics of this generation as online consumers include:

When given the chance prefer face-to-face communication
More likely to look at social media and brick-and-mortar locations than previous generations
Conscious of small producers (SMEs)
Focus on sustainability in all aspects of the buying process
Generation Y versus ZClick to read  

Generation Y Generation Z
Interests and Hobbies

Expressing thoughts and feelings on social media 24/7

Fitness Sports
Using Facebook & Youtube Using Snapchat & Youtube
Music Music
Reading Tv/Netflix


Attract new clients through digital means

Marketing strategyClick to read  

Attracting clients through digital means must be an integral component of an overall marketing strategy.  The key elements of a marketing strategy include:

One way to approach this is through the AIDAR model:

Awareness: The act of creating attention for the brand or service through various mediums

Interest: The step of generating interest to encourage buyers to want to know more

Desire: Creating an emotional connection with the buyer so they want the product or like the brand

Action: The step when the buyer learns about you and contacts to learn more or makes a purchase

Retention: Once someone becomes a customer, the focus turns to satisfy the customer so they return and refer the company to friends and family (word-of-mouth).


Creating an online strategyClick to read  

Creating an online strategy (according to Forbes Magazine):

1.Explore the landscape and analyse the results
2.Map out your strategy
3.Define your target audience
4.Build your content strategy
5.Choose your channels and tactics
6.Set key performance indicators and benchmarks
7.Execute with best practices
8.Analyse and adjust

Online is a TOTAL digital strategy – not just social media; it involves all components of digital contact. 

Social media is a key component and companies must understand how a particular format impacts perspectives of the product/service

Multiple channel social media should be considered and the connectedness between them:

‘Traditional’ social media: Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; Snapchat; LinkedIn; TikTok; Pinterest; Triller
Also considered social media: WhatsApp; Viber; Discord; Telegram; Skype; WeChat; Messenger

Must stay up to date with latest trends and what is “old school”

Do not forget those that require non-digital contactClick to read  

Yes, the non-digitals are probably connected digitally BUT they prefer more personal contact

Do not discount traditional media outlets to reach both non-digital AND digital clientele
Try to ‘slowly’ transition them into parts of your digital strategy (incentivize)
Closely watch how competitors treat non-digital clientele (might be a complete opening if they ignore)
Apply a hybrid marketing strategy covering the ‘best of both worlds’
Summing Up

Summing UpClick to read  

Key takeawaysClick to read  

  • There are multiple generations of possible clientele looking to purchase
  • Generation Y (Millennials) are focused on electronic word of mouth (EWOM) and searching for speciality products and services.
  • Generation Z is paying attention to the issue of sustainability in their decision-making and taking care of small producers
  • Do not forget the non-digital clients (those who are not pre-disposed to digital) and the power of this group
  • Develop an overall marketing strategy that focused on the digital component without forgoing the noni-digital

Test Yourself!


Through the pandemic, the way in which companies have adapted to their customers (current and new) has been critical to their survival. This unit will focus on digital marketing strategies to attract new customer and maintain existing ones. We will also look at the differences between digital versus non-digital generations, the differences between these generations, and how to balance the two.


Online customers; generational differences; Gen Z; Gen Y; digital versus non-digital customers