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How to Incorporate Nostalgia Marketing into Your Business

Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool. Many brands have been using the power of nostalgia in their marketing to invoke strong positive emotions. This strategy has been uniquely effective as the Millennial and Gen Z generations seem to be experiencing nostalgia much earlier than previous generations. 

If you’re in your late twenties or early thirties or even approaching your 40s, then you fall within the millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996. Millennials can appreciate the highlights from those years such as leg warmers and shoulder pads, or bike shorts and bucket hats. You’ll also relate to listening to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or Ace of Base’s “The Sign” on a Walkman, or Discman, and playing video games like Mario Bros, Pac-Man, and Tetris.

The Gen Z generation seems to be nostalgic about the ’90s. This seems a little odd at first simply because those who fall under Generation Z were born after 1997. Having access to syndicated television shows and retro 90’s media on Youtube has given them an insight into a world before social media, virtual schooling, and the internet of things. Movie and television studios have taken advantage of the wave of nostalgia by rebooting movies like The Matrix and tv shows such as Gossip Girl. 

But how can you use the power of nostalgia to attract more customers and clients to your business? This article looks at how, as a business owner, you can use nostalgia marketing to meet the needs of potential customers: by harnessing nostalgic feelings and offering material consolation associated with positive moments from their past.

What is Nostalgia Marketing

As we now know, marketing involves the promotion of products and services through means such as advertising to get the attention of your target market. Nostalgia marketing does this by making a connection with your potential customers and identifying their need to relive their childhood memories. Which is where your product or service positions itself to fulfill that longing. For some examples of this type of marketing, check out our article “13 Brands That Are Using Nostalgia Marketing and Why It’s Working Brilliantly.

How to Incorporate Nostalgia Marketing into Your Business Model

Now that we’ve looked at why nostalgia marketing is so effective, let’s consider how achievable it is in your business.

Given the four P’s that make up the marketing mix, when planning the implementation of your nostalgia marketing campaign, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Product. Whether you sell clothing, food, or IT services, when incorporating this marketing technique, you’ll have to think of the look and feel of your campaign. For example, will your new T-shirt range feature generation-specific graphics, or will you provide a type of food that’s made from a classic recipe? Perhaps you run a social media platform? Consider having old-school background music while users navigate the site or online games with a retro theme. 

The key is to know your target audience, where besides their age, you consider where they’re from, their gender, desires, and pain points.

  • Price. The purpose of any marketing stint is to increase revenue, where, for example, you could encourage sales of bulk buying for a discounted price. You will have to carefully weigh the cost-to-benefit ratios to make the exercise profitable.
  • Place. Nostalgia marketing involves creating a feeling where limiting your campaign to just the product itself could come across as inauthentic. If, for example, you run an online store, the look of your website has to support the theme you’re pushing. You can do this using social media by sharing throwbacks and inventing hashtags. Facebook and Instagram stories are also valuable in creating sentimental value that inspires action from potential customers. 

If instead your business is based on an in-person model, such as a café, having the right aesthetic to go with your ‘Care Bears Waffles’ flavored coffee might include waiters and waitresses wearing caps or aprons with 80’s references on them.

  • Promotion. An essential part of Nostalgia Marketing is offering limited-time deals to boost sales where, for example, you can run a publicity campaign to celebrate your company anniversary.

Another “P” to consider is “People.” Consider people when you plan to expand the reach of your product or service where. For example, millennials are now having children so you can include children’s goods in your offering, which will sell because the iconography appeals to their parents.

In addition to this, an entrepreneur needs to identify trends so that you are in a position to balance the old and the new; where you’re able to offer a modern experience that appeals to a younger generation who may be attracted to the novelty.

Having said this before, when embarking on your marketing campaign it is vital that you take into account copyright or licensing requirements and obtain the relevant permissions.

In this, articles we’ve looked at how nostalgia marketing involves associating client emotions with your product or service that has been created to meet their needs. To be successful in this endeavor, your efforts will have to come across as sincere, which you can achieve by aligning your business values with the retrospective experience it creates for your client. If, for example, one of your company values is ingenuity, are you able to think of clever ways to make potential clients reminisce and incorporate past experiences into your offering for their pleasure? If so, you have a win-win recipe.

Mary Francois Robinson on Linkedin
Mary Francois Robinson
Staff Writer: Mary Francois is a writer with a strong footing in the adult learning space. Her focus is creating valuable content based on her experience in business development. She takes inspiration from Maya Angelou’s wise words, ‘when you learn, teach. When you grow, give.’

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Staff Writer: Mary Francois is a writer with a strong footing in the adult learning space. Her focus is creating valuable content based on her experience in business development. She takes inspiration from Maya Angelou’s wise words, ‘when you learn, teach. When you grow, give.’

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