How to Market to Different Generations

Graphic of four different age generations; baby boomers, gen x, gen z, millennials

As the world of marketing continues to expand, the ability to market to distinct niches is increasing. While everyone is unique and has their own preferences, research has shown that generational groups have a lot in common. This helps with marketing. By focusing on the different generations, a lot can be taken away for marketing. Having certain generations as target markets can save money and time by knowing the kind of people who will be receptive to particular ways of marketing. 

Target marketing is beneficial for learning about which specific customers the marketing should be aiming for. By choosing people with a shared factor, such as by location, gender, or interests, marketing can be more effective by focusing efforts only on those demographics. When thinking about the marketing, two important questions businesses should ask are “Who are the current customers like?” and “Who would you like your customers to be like?”. If there is any difference between the two answers, target marketing can help to get them more aligned together.

Different age groups can be a great place to start. The four main generations are Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964),  Generation X (born between 1965-1981), Millennials (born between 1981-1995), and Generation Z born (between 1996-present). Each generation is examined to see how they compare with particular marketing styles.

Baby Boomers

Of the generations, this group is the oldest in age and can be the least technology savvy. They can be found reading print more than any other generation. Thus, marketing in newspapers and magazines can best be applied to this age group. They also can be big fans of guides, catalogs, and books. Major pieces of technology, such as the internet and smartphones, were developed later in their lives. This explains why it took longer for Baby Boomers to overcome the learning curve and to implement gadgets into their everyday lives.

Still, Baby Boomers are emerging online and their online presence is on the rise. Many have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends online. Facebook and LinkedIn are the top platforms to find this age group. Baby Boomers emphasis on relationships can also be linked to how they like to have brand trust and brand loyalty with companies. Content with clear and brief information are delivered best over desktops and tablets. 

Generation X

As one of the middle generations, this age group is an assortment of people. As a result, the ways Generation X likes to be marketed can be comparable to Baby Boomers and/or Millenials. Although they are the smallest age group of people, Generation X should not be overlooked. They have the highest average income on the national level, which is reciprocated in their top-tier purchasing power

They use tablets, desktops, and mobile devices. Videos can be a nice interchangeable medium to use in this instance since it can show well on all devices. Additionally, blogs can be sought after for an organized and interesting application of information. Generation X still likes to rely on email to stay updated. 

Millennials

This generation is at the heart of the smartphone craze. They have the highest percentages of smartphone owners with 92% and laptop owners with 70%. Millennials have been the trendsetters for everyday technology, especially known for using phone apps, for anything from using social media to checking their bank accounts. Their ease with the constantly changing technology causes this generation to be able to learn and adapt quickly. The fast-paced environment is what they are used to. 

On the other hand, they are used to seeing a lot of media, so they can require more to entice them in comparison to the other generations. Thus, they want to be able to get information concisely. Information should be directly to the point. Still, Millennials often like to see creative and/or interactive media. Imagery can help attract their attention. They also engage with incentives, such as sales and offers. 

Don’t consider calling this generation because it is likely they will not answer the phone. Although they can often be found on their phones a lot, they still will not pick up calls. Texting or emailing are preferred in order to have clear and concise correspondences. 

Generation Z

As the youngest of the four generations, this group has grown up around technology. By being the generation to which it has become second nature to know how to navigate technology, they are most likely to catch up to Millenials with their mobile and online trends. Generation Z has another world available to them through technology, as seen through their vibrant social media presence; Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, and Musical.ly. are among their top mobile apps. 

Generation Z can work well with more creative content, such as through social media, quizzes, memes, and other graphics. They also are the most likely to make purchases from their mobile devices, such as from food apps or online clothing sites. It is important to stay up to date with popular trends in order to keep up to date with Generation Z.

Always Have a Plan

Target marketing to any of the four generations offers a concise plan to work with. Each of these generations’ expectations, likes, and dislikes provides information to strategically use for marketing. Considering the different elements of the generations makes sense based on how they behave and navigate life. It is important to realize who you are marketing to through different advertisements. Digital pieces will attract different people than those that gravitate to print pieces, which is what generational marketing is all about. The goal is to better end up understanding the connection between both the marketing and the customers.

 

This is the second blog post by marketing intern Maura Honan. The first blog post was about brand trust, you can read it here.