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Generational Marketing: How To Engage With Different Generations

Though there are commonalities that span across all ages, each generation has traits that set them apart from the others. When you use those traits to create segmented, targeted marketing campaigns, you’re utilizing generational marketing. 

The six generations include the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (AKA Millennials), Generation Z, and Generation Alpha. Each generation has defining characteristics that make them who they are, and you can use those traits to create successful campaigns that connect with each group. 

The Silent Generation

Born between 1928 and 1945, members of the Silent Generation are between 79-96 years old. They are the oldest generation, and they appreciate products that simplify their everyday lives. They want a relationship with your brand, and dependability is important to them. 

Since this generation is the least tech-savvy, it’s best to communicate through traditional marketing tactics like TV, newspaper ads, direct mail, and magazines. Some digital marketing might work, though, like ads on Facebook and communication through email.

They have strong family values, they uphold respect, and community is important to them, so these are good qualities to highlight. 

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers are born between 1946 and 1964, making them anywhere from 60-78 years old. Baby Boomers grew up in an economic upturn, which means they hold the highest purchasing power and are very likely to have disposable income. 

Even though they spent the first portion of their lives without modern technology, it’s likely that they’re used to it in their daily routines. 

Some may be more cautious about spending after the recent economic downturn, but will still do research online when it comes to shopping. They’re typically brand loyal as well, and they can’t resist a good deal. 

Baby Boomers appreciate communication through the tech that they use, but they don’t need anything fancy – which creates the perfect opportunity for radio ads. They’re already in the car with the radio on, so hearing about a product or service in that environment can usually be counted on for success.

Appealing to this generation through digital marketing on mobile devices, tablets, and computers works well, and they tend to respond to emails and Facebook ads, too. 

As long as you’ve incorporated a good deal, special offer, or discount into your marketing, you’re likely to catch Baby Boomers’ attention. They value clear-cut, easily-digestible marketing content that provides a path that leads them to the end goal. 

Generation X

Generation X was born between 1965 and 1976, so they are between the ages of 48 and 59. This generation is small and often overlooked, as they grew up during a recession and, because of that, they are quite frugal. This generation tends to be skeptical of marketing campaigns and you’ll often find them looking for the “catch” when a deal seems too good to be true. 

They are the most brand-loyal generation and they lean heavily on nostalgia. They are loyal to the brands they’ve relied on for their whole lives, so a brand needs to establish credibility to convince a Gen X member to try them out. 

Gen X values reviews, word of mouth, and loyalty programs. A few good marketing channels where you can reach them include your website (they will go there to find the most up-to-date information), Facebook (especially Facebook video), and email. They respond well to clear and honest communication, good customer service, and incentives (like discounts and coupons). 

Generation Y (Millennials)

This generation, born between 1977-1996, are anywhere between 28 and 47 years old. They were the first to grow up surrounded by modern technology, and they are the largest demographic in the workforce right now. 

Millennials are savers, likely to spend their money on things they find valuable instead of things they find convenient. Often, they seek out environmentally and socially conscious brands that offer authentic messaging. 

Digital marketing works well with Millennials. You can reach them through email, text messages, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. They seek products listed at a fair price, from honest brands they’re proud to purchase from (and they will often post about their experiences, positive or negative, on social media). 

Generation Z

Generation Z was born between 1997 and 2012, putting them between the ages of 12 and 27. They’re still quite young, but not too young to consider what marketing material works for them – they have spending power, after all. This generation is the most experienced with social media, so reviews and recommendations through such platforms hold a lot of power. 

Your brand can reach Gen Z by being active on social media and regularly engaging with your followers. This generation is very interested in brands that operate in a personable manner, as they value that connection and want to be spoken to as an individual, not a number or a sale. That’s why influencer marketing is so successful with them.

Generation Alpha

Generation Alpha consists of those born 2013-present. They are the youngest generation and don’t have much buying power yet, but they can definitely influence the purchasing habits of their parents. Most of the older Generation Alpha members own a tablet and are present on social media, which means that social media and video marketing are a good place to start

Finding the Common Thread

Every generation (and every person within each generation) has a unique personality. Don’t forgo your other marketing segmentation strategies to rely wholly on generational marketing – instead, work generational marketing into the tactics you already have for the best possible results. 

And, remember, while there may be many, many differences between generations, there’s one thing that people of all ages value: honesty. Honesty, integrity, and authenticity are your strongest players when marketing to people of any age, because being straightforward encourages the results that you’re looking for. 

To learn more about generational marketing and marketing tactics in general, reach out to our team at Federated Media. 

Written by Federated Media