Generational Marketing: How understanding your client’s age can influence marketing strategies

If you’ve worked with us, you know that one of the first things we’ll ask you is “what is your target market?” That’s because clearly defining your customer base will better help us understand which marketing strategies we need to use to reach them. By not defining your target market properly, you will be wasting your precious marketing dollars and our resources.

In this blog post, we’ll examine targeted marketing to generational demographics: baby boomers, generation z, generation x and – everyone’s favorite – millennials.

Baby Boomers

Baby boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964. They are known to be self-righteous (the “me” generation), optimistic, driven and team-orientated. They were ushered in the free love and societal “non-violent” protests, triggering strong desires to reset or change the common values for the good of all.  When it comes to their spending habits, baby boomers were among the first to grow up in a two-income household and were also one of the first generations to “buy now” using credit.

When it comes to marketing to baby boomers, it’s important to understand their behaviors. According to a The State of User Experience report, this generation spends more than 11 hours a week online – and most of that is spending! They also prefer content to be shorter, reading it throughout the week. Short blogs are a fantastic way to reach this group, especially when kept to 300-400 words.

Understanding that they are the “me” generation, boomers respond better to messaging and imagery that targets them specifically and is extremely personalized. It’s interesting to note that marketers should avoid pointing out Baby Boomers are seniors, elderly, or old. Baby Boomers desire to feel included.

Generation X

Generation X-ers are born between 1965 and 1980. They love the new tech of the century, their families, freedom and independence. Generation X has seen heavy events, civil rights movements, several wars not to mention the grunge fashion movement. A stereotypical X-er will be family oriented, financially responsible and self-reliant.

Gen X spends 5-10 hours per week consuming content online, typically in the morning and on the weekend. They also consume their content on laptops and desktop computers, and avoid utilizing tablets to read the news. They are on social networking sites, but at a much lower rate than millennials. They prefer email marketing over other tactics.

Gen X-ers have families to take care of, and therefore respond to messaging geared at providing for families, themselves, or their futures. Because of their busy work and family lives, making things easy and quick for this generation is important. It’s common to overlook this generation because they are smaller than the exciting millennials or retiring baby boomers, but they are also the most influential, so missing this generation is leaving money on the table.

 

Millennials

And now for every business owners dream client – millennials, those born between 1981 and 2000. Characteristics of millennials include optimistic, focused, respectful of authority. They envision the world as a 24/7 place and want everything fast with immediate processing.

Millennials spend nearly 30 hours per month on social media apps, checking into social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat on an hourly basis. This means they are attached much more personally to brands and companies through these tools than they are traditional marketing efforts such as TV or radio advertising.

Millennials feel close to companies, experiencing a more personal connection through social media, so they desire companies to be authentic and real in their marketing. They are much more aware of how companies respond to social issues, and are quick to develop love or hate for a brand based on the brand’s response to things important to them.

For millennials, purchase decisions are made after reviewing choices with friends. Trust is a huge factor for millennials, and they will trust their friends first over the savvy and slick marketing gimmicks from brands. That friendship factor can transfer to a brand. Knowing this, a company can craft a long-term marketing plan to nurture lasting brand loyalty. One way to foster a friendship between your brand and the millennial consumer is to engage with them on social media.

Generation Z

Generation Z-ers, those born after 2001, may not be in your marketing plans just yet, but they are an important demographic to pay attention to. Think about the world in 2001 – this generation has never known a world without the computer, internet and cell phones!

This generation spends an average of 74 per cent of their free time online, according to a study by Forbes. This is why digital marketing should be at the crux of your marketing plan when targeting this age group.

When it comes down to the tactics, Gen Z are the master of real-time stories such as Snapchat and Instagram. They are attached to their phones, so your strategies should absolutely include smartphone-savvy tactics, such as making sure your website works perfectly on mobile. They also respond directly to influencer marketing.

As you can see, different strategies work with different generations. As marketers, it’s important to understand who you are trying to reach so you can tailor both your message and your tactics. We hope this gives you a better understanding of why it’s so important to define your target market when it comes to generational marketing.

If you’re looking for help in either defining your target market or reaching them directly, there’s good news – we can help.