Some said it wasn’t possible; we could never get along.  Baby Boomers and Millennials agreeing on anything is too far fetched.

The Boomers are hard working, scrappy and financially independent while Millennials wear titles like lazy, entitled and (mom’s) basement dweller.

First off, anytime a stereotype with such a wide net is cast, there is bound to be disagreement.  The above is no exception to that rule.  (As a Millennial, I don’t love the stereotypes we draw, but that is an argument for a different day.)

Having said that, there is also plenty of research to say these two generations (Boomers/Millennials) are very different, so sometimes it does come as a bit of a surprise when they reach an agreement.

More importantly, you may come to wonder, just what is it these two very different generations agree upon?

When It Comes To Important Purchases Word-Of-Mouth is King

 

This past year, Marketing Charts compiled a study looking at the biggest purchasing drivers of Millennials and Baby Boomers in the following areas.

  •  Apparel
  • Packaged Goods
  • Financial Products
  • Big Ticket Items (Vacations, Electronics, Autos)

Here were the findings of their study:

Generation Purchase Influence

 

What immediately jumped out at me was just how different the two generations handled the purchasing of apparel and packaged goods.

For the Millennials, it was all word of mouth while for the boomers word of mouth barely made the top 3 in either category.

However, when it came to financial products and big-ticket purchases, the Boomers and Millennials saw life through the same lens.

What was it that drove this common ground?

Important Decisions Demand Greater Levels of Trust

 

In 2013 Nielsen ran a study on consumer purchasing that found that word of mouth is by far the most trusted vehicle for marketing.  With more than 84% of consumers trusting someone from their network, it superseded every traditional marketing vehicle on the planet.

This very study is the catalyst for the Boomers and Millennials seeing eye-to-eye on word of mouth for both big-ticket purchases and financial products.

Whereas packaged products and apparel are by-in-large low(er) ticket items, the risks associated with a bad decision are less so boomers are more comfortable making decisions based on advertisements and their individual online shopping experience.

Additionally, the Boomers use of online shopping as their most influential purchase vehicle may also have to do with less concern for approval over their wardrobe where the younger millennial still may pay greater concern to the opinion of others.

When important financial decisions are made, generational differences become less important and trust re-emerges as the top influencer.

Proving that whether you are 26 or 62 that when you have an important financial decision to make, you are more likely to make it with the support of the people you know and trust than you are based upon what a brand or advertisement is telling you.

Meaning that unless you are selling canned soup or sardines, trust still trumps the bottom line when it comes to earning wallet share from today’s consumer.