Being just on the cusp of the end of the millennial generation and the beginning of Gen Z – I was born in 1996 – I find myself drawn to branded marketing directed to both generations. I grew up with the rise of digital marketing yet I remember a childhood without mobile phones or social media.
As a kid, I was influenced to buy from brands ( or should I say convince my parents to buy for me) from the kids in the playground or through the TV adverts in between Tracy Beaker and Jungle Run. I would pick Christmas gifts from Argos Catalogues and my mum would frequently get the Next catalogue delivered.
It wasn’t until my early teens that social media came on the scene and it was another few years before influencer marketing became the norm. Now I am influenced by the latest ‘It’ product on TikTok or the new product my favourite influencer is promoting. As many millennials will know, we have had the best of both worlds in terms of advertising. The same could be said for the generations that came before. Not only did we have traditional marketing we’ve also had to adapt to new forms of marketing.
We all know that as a brand you have to adapt to new waves of marketing trends and learn the best way to market your brand to your target audience no matter their age. So what happens if your target demographic isn’t on social media? Or what if you target multiple age demographics? How do you market your business to reach the right audience?
This is what we like to call generational marketing. Where you target your customers based on the generation they were born into rather than just age or gender. This allows you to focus on the experience for the customer as different generations prefer to experience their interactions with brands in a way that’s meaningful to them.
How to target each generation?
There are 5 major generations ranging from Silent Traditionalists born between 1928-1945, Baby Boomers 1946-1964, Generation X 1965-1980, Millennials born between 1983-1996 and finally Gen Z 1997 – 2010. So let’s get into how to market to each generation.
Silent Traditionalists don’t often get a lot of attention from marketers. Being born between 1928 and 1945 this generation has seen monumental moments in history. From the Great Depression to the Second World War. When it comes to targeting this generation being direct and to the point is a good way to win them over. No need for bells and whistles, just get straight to the deal.
The Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 saw the end of the Second World War, hence the name “Baby Boomers” as they were the product of the birth boom after world war II. This generation is most active on Facebook compared to other social media platforms. Informative videos that will educate them are the key to marketing to this generation. They want to make the right choice and know that the product will serve them well and last for years to come.
Generation X is the generation that straddles the line between the tech revolution of the ’90s and the economic boom and social development of the ’60s and ’70s. Being born any time between 1965 and 1980 Generation X are said to be the most loyal to brand consumers. Try adding a loyalty incentive to your marketing things like discounts, freebies or coupons to win over Gen X. These are the customers who want to build a relationship with a brand and buy from a brand they know and trust time and time again.
Millennials are the generation who grew up on Saturday morning cartoons and magazine advertisements. Being the generation born between 1983 and 1996 they got the best of both worlds growing up in a world without social media and also being there for the early internet days. 95% of millennials aged 18-34 are said to mainly follow brands through social media. This means for your brand it is key to target this generation through social media. Make use of trends and be open and honest as a brand. Sharing your most authentic self as a business is one way to win the attention of millennials. Another way is through influencer marketing and honest reviews with the best price-to-value ratio. How else are we going to afford our daily £4 latte?
Understanding the ways to win over Gen Z seems to be an ever-losing battle. They are different to the generations who came before them, they know what they want and they want it now. If your brand can’t deliver quick turnarounds, flexibility or sustainable choices you may just lose the attention of your Gen Z target market. However, the good news is that Gen Z is looking for authentic and unique experiences more so than any other generation. Think pop-up events and exclusive limited edition collections or services. Gen Z are more likely to listen to individuals rather than brands themselves so make the most of influencer marketing if Gen Z are your target audience.
While there are many differences between each generation brands can target the various generations with the same message just in different ways. Each generation wants to be seen and heard by their favourite brands. It’s just finding the right way to market to them is how you’ll win their attention. If you would like to chat more about the perfect marketing mix for your brand, get in touch with our team today.