X, Y, or Z?: Marketing to Different Generations

POSTED BY Marleen Linares - 02.19.15 - Digital marketing

iStock_000019483090_LargeWhen thinking about your target buyer persona, demographics – specifically age – should not be ignored. The generation your customers belong to has a significant impact on how they consume and contextualize information. Think about the last time you were at a large family gathering. You can probably think of a few times an adult made a joke that left the kids table scratching their heads. Or, recall when a reference by your teenage nephew had you secretly looking it up on your smartphone.

The same dynamic applies when it comes to marketing. Different generations have different upbringings, attitudes and buying patterns that should be considered when strategizing digital marketing campaigns. The content you produce is only as powerful as the connection your customer feels to it. Here are things to consider when marketing to different generations.


Baby Boomer (1940s – 1960s)

Baby boomers grew up in an era of economic prosperity and many indulged in individuality, self-expression and social reform. They enjoy working and feel they can outsmart age so avoid referencing retirement or growing older. This generation wants quick and simple solutions so appeal to their desire for products that will make their life easier.

Also known as the Me Generation, affluent boomers expect businesses to cater to their needs. Your marketing should illustrate how choosing your product or service is granting them a competitive edge or positive advantage. Although this generation is price conscious, baby boomers understand the benefits of a good product. Focusing on value will make members of this generation less price sensitive if they trust they're getting a superior product.

Try This: Content Marketing - This generation is eager to learn what makes your product both different and valuable. Distributing quality content – i.e. blogs, eBooks, webinars – will keep the customer engaged while establishing your brand's value and expertise. 


Generation X (1960s – 1980s)

Marketing to Generation X calls for more action and less words. Growing up in a time of less economic prosperity, they are not impressed by extravagant offers and claims. They are interested in the value of a product or service and are persuaded by a good deal. Often skeptical and disillusioned, you can combat this attitude by giving them access to information and educating them along their buying process.

When marketing to Generation X, keep them engaged with your brand and share information with them regularly. Most importantly, be conscious of the language you use and focus on value rather than over-the-top claims and one-line zingers about your product or service.

Try This: Social Media - Over 80% of Gen Xers have a Facebook account. This generation thinks communally and often makes decisions together. Having a dynamic social media presence can help your brand harness that sense of community. 


Millenials/Generation Y (1980s - early 2000s)

Millenials are arguably the hardest generation to target. They've grown up around a rollercoaster economy and the technology boom. They are more self-absorbed than previous generations and know how to block out unwanted information. Generation Y is optimistic, opinionated and have a more global perspective. They have a stronger sense of independence and autonomy and are highly motivated.

Marketing to millenials means catering to their thirst for knowledge and growth. They react strongly to real life examples as they favor the truth and realness. Appeal to their appreciation of humor and honesty. They crave challenge so encourage them to explore new paths and options and leverage your product or service as a step to that path.

Try This: Video - Video transforms your brand into a living, moving entity. With 55% of millenilals watching video several times a day on various devices, video can be key to connecting this generation to your brand.

Having a solid understanding of your customer will help you develop an educated, insightful approach when developing a digital marketing strategy. If you're struggling with choosing which digital channels will work best for your brand's goals, check out our eBook "Digital Cocktail: How to Mix the Best Digital Channels for Your Marketing Goals."

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