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Marketing to the Generations

Posted By TNNA Editor, Thursday, October 11, 2018

With today’s needlearts industry appealing to all ages, marketing to everyone is vital for a store’s success. There are certain marketing techniques that appeal more to Millennials than Gen Z, while others resonate more with Baby Boomers than Gen X, and so on. We sat down with Shelley Brander, owner of Loops in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to talk about how she approaches marketing to multiple generations.

How does Loops market across generations? Any successful tactics you are willing to share?

Shelley: I learned to knit at 16 and remember feeling so isolated, not knowing anyone my age who knit. I then started Loops at a relatively young age (in my 30s), when I was a crazy-busy mom who didn’t have time to linger in yarn shops for hours, trying to find something stylish to make. From the day we opened, we created a “Hot Loops Wall” with a bunch of curated, on-trend projects all photographed and organized in a unique (copyrighted) way to make it easy to get inspired, grab and go! We’ve become known for the “Hot Loops Wall,” which now extends to online shopping. We have a VIP party to debut the new wall each season. All ages really love it.

Do you find it more difficult to market to younger or older generations?

Shelley: Facebook makes it easy to target older generations because, despite everyone’s efforts, that’s still where most of the knitters are! But we never give up. We know it’s so critical to nurture the younger generations and always be “making new knitters and crocheters.” The older I get, the more I work to stay on top of trends and involve newer, younger knitters on our team. We had two interns this summer (including my daughter) who provided lots of ideas for keeping things fresh.

Have your marketing tactics shifted in the last few years? If so, how?

Shelley: My marketing tactics have shifted in the last few days! My background is in branding and I’m endlessly fascinated with finding new ways to reach yarn lovers and make an impact in the world. Our mission is to “Knit the World Together™” and we’ve started incorporating that into everything we do. It’s also 100% crucial that our marketing is as authentic and “real” as possible. These days you’ll see us using a lot of Facebook Live videos, Instagram stories or “behind the scenes” stories to connect and inspire our online community.

Where do you see the biggest opportunities in terms of marketing to different generations for those in the needlearts industry?

Shelly: Whatever the latest social media craze is, email will always be critical. It’s the most personal place to reach someone — their inbox. And I don’t believe the local yarn store will survive unless we embrace online marketing and transcend the scarcity mindset. We need to collaborate, innovate, and stay positive and inclusive.

Any predictions for the future of marketing in the needlearts industry as Gen Z comes of age?

Shelley: I believe that the needle arts are an ideal antidote for the digital age. The more digital our word becomes, the more we crave something real, slow, handmade and lasting. That is everything that knitting is! For the companies that aren’t afraid to embrace that and keep adapting, the sky is the limit.

Tags:  business  business tips  TNNANews 

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