Marketing Through the Generations: How to Attract the Right Residents at the Right Time

Posted By: Ashley Tyndall Articles,

There is a lot more that goes into your apartment marketing strategy than just publishing posts on Facebook and sending out a generic email newsletter. Who is your target audience? How old are they and what do they want out of their living experience? What are their biggest pain points and desires? Knowing the answers to those questions can make the difference between obtaining one lease or dozens.

Most apartment marketers have kept their focus on millennials and preparing for the up-and-coming Generation Z. However, if your apartment caters to the senior living environment, you could be wasting your money and effort by marketing on platforms like YouTube or Snapchat.

When marketing to different generations, it’s important to avoid stereotyping the habits and actions of certain ages. Rather, look at who your residents (or prospects) are, then develop messaging strategies and campaigns that will resonate with your audience.

To maximize your marketing potential, you must first understand the terms, trends, and needs of your target audience. Let’s start by taking a look at each generation to determine your market.



Baby Boomers

Empowered by empty nests and financial freedom, Baby Boomers are embracing their 60+ years for the opportunities they hold rather than dreading the obstacles present. This outlook, coupled with buying power and declining mortality rates, has sparked a multi-billion dollar market for a group now being termed “active adults.” In fact, Boomers hold 57% of the wealth in the U.S. and are at peak buying power.

Typically born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers are adjusting to a new lifestyle centered around leisure and entertainment. They are looking to downsize and find a home that better meets their post-retirement needs. This outlook is giving rise to a distinctly new kind of senior living community that offers independent living, modern conveniences, and a new beginning.


Marketing to Baby Boomers and Active Adults

Where Should You Advertise?
If your apartment community caters to active adults, it’s best to steer clear from trendy social media platforms like Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitter. Instead, keep your focus on Facebook and Instagram. This generation prioritizes Facebook to reconnect with old friends, online shop, and stay up to date on their families.

What Should You Advertise?

An active adult isn’t as interested in nightlife or happy hours as a millennial might be, so it’s important to focus on promoting the conveniences and walkability of your property instead. Highlight the close proximity your community is to doctor’s offices, clinics, and major highways. You should also promote your property’s walkability to places like grocery stores, parks, and other nearby locales.
Seniors are also very mindful of amenities and community design. With many seniors enjoying a higher quality of life, make sure to promote your outdoor shared spaces like walking paths, nature trails, and spaces for gardening.

How Should You Advertise?

Baby Boomers still enjoy checking the mailbox each day and find joy in the friendly “ping” they hear when they receive an email. As long as you are sharing helpful, relevant content that your older residents would enjoy reading about, sending a direct mailer or a weekly email is still a great way to stay in front of your current and prospective residents.


Gen X and Millennials (Gen Y)

There are two generations that fall between Baby Boomers and the up-and-coming Generation Z: Gen X and Gen Y (also known as Millennials). Gen X was born between 1965 and 1980, and Millennials were born between 1980 and 1994.

Millennials are often the most buzzed-about generation, and rightfully so with $1.3 trillion in buying power. Millennials increasingly prefer an urban lifestyle (i.e., prime rental locations, public transportation, and smaller units).

Gen X are often bundled in with the Millennial generation when it comes to marketing because although Gen X didn’t grow up with smartphones and internet at their fingertips, they quickly caught on in later years. Gen X’rs now enjoy many of the same social media platforms and advertising mediums as Millennials do.

According to Daymon Worldwide, only 29% of Millennials purchase or support the same brand, which is a lower brand loyalty score than any other generation. As such, multifamily brands must do more to attract and retain Millennial residents.

As a brand, you will have to constantly innovate and alter your apartment marketing strategy for this generation in order to earn and keep their loyalty.


Marketing to Millennials & Gen X

Where Should You Advertise?

These generations enjoy most social media platforms, especially Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Some of the younger Millennials even enjoy Snapchat, Reddit, and TikTok. With such a broad range of platforms, it’s best to conduct interviews with your target audience to learn greater insights into the social media channels that interest your prospective and current residents.
What Should You Advertise?

As millennials tend to wait longer for marriage, purchasing a house, and having kids, they’re staying in the renting sphere longer.

Similar to Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen X are interested in communities with a prime location near major highways and area hotspots. Many are also huge pet lovers, so it’s important for your property to promote its pet-friendliness. They are also more in-tune with sustainability and enjoy apartments that offer recycling and eco-friendly options.

How Should You Advertise?

Gen X and Millennials especially are tech-savvy and frequently keep up with their email. As such, email marketing and drip campaigns are a great way to stay in front of this audience. Facebook and LinkedIn advertising can also be an advantageous venue for promoting your property. While snail mail isn’t as important to this generation as the Baby Boomers, direct mailers can still yield results with the right design and messaging.

Generation Z

Generation Z — born between the mid-1990s and 2010 — are beginning to come of age, with the oldest members in their early 20s. And if they aren’t already, Gen Z will be the next slew of renters at your properties.

It is no longer efficient enough to list your apartment online or use traditional methods of marketing, as Generation Z has specific expectations for their new pad. From smart technology appliances to shared-space amenities, Gen Z is looking for more.

Marketing to Generation Z

Where Should You Advertise?

Growing up in the age of technology, Gen Z cannot comprehend a time before the digital age. As such, they are often less focused and have a shorter attention span as compared with Millennials and other age groups.
They spend considerably less time accessing the internet via PCs as the vast majority of their time is spent on mobile devices. Marketing should therefore focus extensively on the most popular social media platforms (i.e., TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and Reddit) and continuously adapt as new ones gain in popularity.


What Should You Advertise?
Gen Z renters prefer connected appliances such as smart thermostats that save money, and keyless locks for enhanced security. Similarly, they expect wireless, fast reception. Consider focusing on advertising your property’s quick internet speed and reception that beats your competition.

Additionally, this age group is prone to be less physically active than previous generations, so things like a swimming pool and fitness center may not be as appealing to them. You could instead focus your attention on advertising indoor and outdoor lounge spaces, community areas, and other shared amenities.

How Should You Advertise?

Generation Z is smart and information-savvy when it comes to social media; they know exactly how to “train” the algorithm to get what they want to see in their feed. About 46% of college students polled in a recent survey claim that they purposefully engage with content to “train the algorithm” to put what they want to see in their social media feeds. With this in mind, it’s important to publish content that will most interest the Gen Z audience in order to be successful in your advertising and marketing efforts.

So how can you capture their attention and prompt them to engage with your content? Gen Z are great multi-taskers, with the ability to juggle several social media platforms at once. However, this generation is prone to scroll quickly through those platforms, and responds best to concise, pointed, and attention-grabbing advertisements. For best results, focus your marketing efforts on social media videos and other visually appealing content.

Additionally, Gen Z expects the brands they follow to take a stand on important social justice issues. Staying neutral or silent is no longer an option in the eyes of Gen Z. They expect brands to speak out on at least some hot topics.


Meeting Your Residents Online in the Right Way

While each generation is attracted to different amenities and social media platforms, they all have one thing in common: they want to know how the apartment will benefit their lifestyle. Efficiency, convenience, and comfortability are the foundation for attracting any renters to your property; it all starts with knowing your audience and shifting your apartment marketing strategy accordingly.