Generational Marketing: Do you really know your audience?

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If you’re marketing to a niche group, it’s easy to figure out exactly how to reach them. But if you’re marketing to the masses, what works for one age group does not always work for another. You won’t find 70-year-olds on Snapchat and you won’t convince a millennial to buy something by sending a mailer. Knowing the best practices to engage your target audience, their likes and dislikes, increases your ability to effectively market to them.

Let’s break it down by generational archetype.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

Don’t call this generation old, they want experiences and brands that cater to their lifestyle.
Characteristics: Financially conscious, interested in ownership, do-it-yourself, and self-improvement
Brand Momentum: POM Wonderful Juices, Command, Gorilla Tape
Social Media: Mailers, Email Marketing, Facebook
What Sells: Nostalgia, Perks, Emotional Appeals, and Prestige

Generation X (1965-1979)

This generation is money savvy, but with a lot of spending power. They hide between the boomers and millennials, but with a thought out campaign, you can reach them.
Characteristics: Reject rules, entrepreneurial spirit, brand loyal
Brand Momentum: Chobani, Tide, Duracell
Social Media: Email marketing, Facebook, Video
What Sells: Product information, money-back guarantees, good design, entertainment

Millennials (1980-1994)

Be careful in assuming this generation is self-absorbed. These up-and-comers in the business world are eco-conscious and ready to forge their own path.
Characteristics: Socially and environmentally aware, tech savvy, like collaboration.
Brand Momentum: EOS, Wonderful Pistashios, Dove
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat
What Sells: Instant Gratification, personalization, experiences, concise messaging

Generation Z (1995- Present)

While this generation makes an average of $16 in allowance, marketers have quickly shifted their attention to this demographic that makes up a quarter of the US population.
Characteristics: Tech savvy, resourceful, spending money on experiences
Brand Momentum: FritoLay, GoPro, MAC
Social Media: Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube
What Sells: Transparency, social-consciousness, Real People, cause-oriented messaging

When defining your target audience, it’s helpful to conduct surveys, readership studies and audience mapping to identify existing characteristics, pinpoint where best to reach them, and determine what does and doesn’t sell. While your primary focus may be one specific generation, it can be useful to know how and what to leverage when targeting other generational groups.