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Mastering Multi-Generational Marketing

Speaking to My (and Your) Generation

Generational marketing involves segmenting the audience beyond age into generational categories. This will align strategies with the traits associated with each group. This data segmentation can include such categories as “technological familiarity, communication styles, preferred marketing channels, values, and life stage considerations,” points out Porch Group Media, in its blog, “Generational Marketing: How to Target Different Age Groups.”

While it’s not possible to list every lifestyle preference or personality characteristic, Porch Group Media outlines the main groups pretty succinctly, along with some of the marketing channels that can be successfully used to target each group:

Generation Z (Born 1997-2012): True digital natives, Gen Zers prioritize authenticity and diversity. They have shorter attention spans, are highly active on visual social platforms, and are drawn to interactive and visually appealing content. Marketing Strategies: Embrace visual storytelling on social media platforms, leverage short-form video content, build a strong presence on YouTube, prioritize mobile-first and user-centric design, engage in memes and trend culture, emphasize social responsibility and causes.

Millennials (Born 1981-1996): Tech-savvy and socially conscious, Millennials value experiences over possessions. They’re active on social media, prefer brands with a purpose, and seek personalized content. Marketing Strategies: Harness the power of social media, create valuable content through blogging, leverage influencer marketing, video marketing for engagement, email marketing with a personal touch, utilize online reviews and recommendations.

Generation X (Born 1965-1980): Gen Xers are characterized by their independence and adaptability. They’re tech-literate but less likely to be early adopters. They appreciate authenticity and responsive customer service. Marketing Strategies: Embrace traditional and digital marketing, value-driven messaging, utilize email marketing, nostalgia and storytelling, social media engagement, loyalty programs and personalization.

Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964): Often associated with traditional values, Baby Boomers value quality and loyalty. They appreciate personalized customer service and might be less tech-savvy, preferring print media and in-person interactions. Marketing Strategies: Personalized direct mail campaigns, leverage traditional media, create informative content, email marketing with clear messaging, showcase testimonials and reviews.

Generational Marketing Through Data Storytelling

Generational marketing and insights can also be largely connected to the trend of data storytelling. All Things Insights touched on this in, “Harnessing Data Storytelling.” As data becomes more accessible throughout an organization, the need for data storytelling becomes more important in terms of strategy. It’s no longer just an activity for the data scientist or data team. Empowering your team and your company to not just analyze data but to drive change through a compelling insights story or narrative is one avenue to create value, drive action and make an impact.

All Things Innovation looked closer at segmentation from a data perspective in “Delivering the Right Data to the Right Audience.” Data segmentation may seem to be a standard framework used in the analytics and data science community, yet it deserves a refresher in this age of “big data.” With larger amounts of data flowing into the enterprise, data challenges can include the quality of data as well as the sheer size and scope of such data filtering down to the departmental level. Steps to improve data governance and data democratization practices can be critical to the role that data plays in the organization. Data segmentation takes it a step further by dividing it up and grouping similar data together based on the chosen parameters so that you can use it more efficiently within marketing and operations.

Reaching Common Ground

Insights can be leveraged into generational marketing by understanding the unique characteristics, preferences, and behaviors of different generational cohorts and tailoring marketing strategies and messaging to resonate with each group. We asked ChatGPT how insights can be applied to generational marketing:

  1. Segmentation: Use insights from market research to segment your target audience by generational cohorts, such as Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. Understand the distinct values, attitudes, lifestyles, and purchasing behaviors of each generation to create targeted marketing campaigns that speak to their specific needs and preferences.
  2. Personalization: Leverage insights about generational preferences to personalize marketing messages and offerings for each segment. Use demographic data, behavioral insights, and psychographic profiles to customize content, product recommendations, and promotions that are relevant and appealing to each generation.
  3. Channel Selection: Different generations have varying preferences for communication channels and media consumption habits. Use insights about preferred communication channels, such as social media platforms, email, mobile apps, or traditional media, to reach each generational cohort effectively. Tailor your marketing efforts to meet customers where they are and engage with them on their preferred channels.
  4. Messaging and Tone: Craft marketing messages and brand communications that resonate with the values, aspirations, and language of each generational group. Use insights about generational attitudes and cultural references to develop messaging that feels authentic and relatable to your target audience. Adapt your tone, style, and content to appeal to the unique sensibilities of each generation.
  5. Product Development: Use insights about generational preferences and trends to inform product development and innovation efforts. Identify unmet needs or emerging trends within each generational cohort and develop products or services that address those needs and align with their preferences. Incorporate features, benefits, and design elements that appeal to the values and lifestyles of each generation.
  6. Lifecycle Marketing: Recognize that generational preferences and behaviors may evolve over time as individuals progress through different life stages. Use insights about life stage transitions, milestones, and evolving needs to tailor marketing efforts and messaging accordingly. Develop lifecycle marketing strategies that anticipate and address the changing needs and priorities of customers as they move through different life phases.

Making Your Marketing Message Resonate

By leveraging insights into generational preferences and behaviors, businesses can create more targeted, personalized, and effective marketing strategies that resonate with each generational cohort and drive engagement, loyalty, and conversion.

Of course, while generational marketing provides valuable insights, each generation has individuals who are diverse and unique. Tailoring your strategy is about understanding the general trends while acknowledging that personal preferences vary. As Porch Group Media puts it, “Embracing generational marketing empowers brands to navigate the evolving landscape of consumer engagement with precision and empathy, ensuring their messages resonate effectively across all generations.”

Video courtesy of USA Today


  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.

    View all posts

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