As marketers, we have access to a never-ending stream of data about consumers and it is easy for us to get lost. We have the ability to turn data into information and information into insight. Insight allows us to break down the data and discover the facts about our consumers.
This helps us create a targeted message for the correct generation and market we want to reach. Generation marketing allows us to use an approach that uses generational segmentation within our marketing communication. Each generation is different, which means you have to market to them in a specific way based on who they are, what they do, why and how they do it.
How, as marketers, can we market towards specific generations?
Baby Boomers | 1944 – 1964
Market to the age people feel, not the age they are.
Boomers are treated like they are old and as marketers this is our biggest mistake. We assume they are retired, have grey hair and use a walker. They can also be portrayed to be happily married, enjoying retirement and spending time with their grandkids. This leads to Baby Boomers feeling bad about themselves because this isn’t always their reality. As marketers, we need to be helpful and authentic, rather than hopeful and aspirational. Contrary to popular belief, Baby Boomers are actually tech savvy. Boomers prefer to alternate between old and new media. Traditional marketing like TV and print are important to them, but they also use Facebook. This can be an effective tool to use for marketing depending on the content being delivered. Baby Boomers may seem old, but they feel young. Give them opportunities to explore technology without being condescending. Understand what they like and most importantly, be patient with them.
Generation X | 1965 – 1980
The Inbetweeners. This group responds to a hybrid of traditional and digital marketing.
Generation X is the group juggling child care, homeownership while also reaching the peak of their careers. They are adapting to technology and can be found on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Gen Xers grew up without online shopping, so they still enjoy making a trip to the store. They love coupons and prefer receiving them through email, as they tend to be glued to their inbox. A socially conscious group, they value products that benefit society and the environment. As marketers, we should try to understand their busy lifestyles and offer services that suit their needs. Keep it simple, focus on reaching them through online marketing methods.
Millennials | 1981 – 1996
Inclusion, experience and social worth are vital to authentic connection.
Millennials are hungry for education through social media platforms, mainly via Snapchat and Instagram. Social is the new SEO, and it is important to focus marketing on reaching them through those platforms. They love to see themselves in the media, so it is important to incorporate user generated content. Millennials are notorious for being vocal, so they will tell you what they love and hate. They are nearly always online and read reviews on virtually any product or service before purchasing. Millennials value transparency, and they expect companies to be relevant and engaging across all platforms. Content should be short and pithy, as Millennials are always on the move and don’t have time to watch long videos or read extensive blogs. Millennials are the abbreviation generation and live their lives by YOLO (you only live once) and FOMO (fear of missing out) standards. This generation places more value on experiences than material items. As marketers, we must provide an experience to this group – even if we are a product-based company. Creating experiences will capture Millennials, producing authentic and diverse content will keep them.
Generation Z | 1997 – 2015
Rely heavily on smartphones to support their constant need for entertainment.
Gen Zs were born into a world that was already very dependent on electronic devices. Nearly everyone in this generation has a mobile device which they use to communicate and explore online content. They are always watching videos, whether it’s while commuting, working or doing another task. Gen Zs boldly state that watching videos on a mobile is comparable to watching it on a television, and say that watching short videos are a great way to fill the gaps in their day. The constant consumption of videos provides opportunity for marketers to connect with this generation. Marketers need to design trendy and youth-targeted campaigns for IGTV, YouTube and TikTok. It is important to still focus on effective and engaging video advertisements, as they remain relevant to this generation. It’s time to become well-versed in video creation in order to connect and be successful with Generation Z.
The main takeaway from the aforementioned data is that our customers and generations are as diverse as our organizations. In order to properly understand their purchasing behaviour through analytics, we must first understand their core values and beliefs.