Best Ways to Message Generations, From Baby Boomers to Gen Z
Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980) have the distinction of being the last to experience a truly low-tech childhood, while also becoming the first truly high-tech parents. They are the only generation who regularly consume their marketing messages from all of the main media channels, including social media networks and mobile (unlike Boomers) and TV/cable (unlike Gen Y).
Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) and Gen Zers (born between 2001 and 2015) use the Web for entertainment (music and movies), socializing, and gathering information. The Internet has entertained, socialized, informed, organized and educated these generations for most of their lives.
Millennials prefer sharing pictures instead of status updates on their Facebook profiles. As a creative generation, Millennials value brands that allow them to express themselves in unique ways. Millennials do not seek out products that show off their high status (like Gen Xers). Instead, they are driven by experiences and opportunities to create memories to share with friends. They look for the benefits that come from sharing personal information online, contrary to older generations’ automatic distrust of sites that ask for too much personal information.
While Millennials have fully embraced technology, Gen Zers, the first generation born into a digital world, are digital natives. They live online, sharing details of their lives across dozens of platforms, dictating what they like and dislike with a tweet, post or status update. To reach this generation, brands can’t simply "embrace technology" as Millennials have. Marketers must be digitally native, too, creating a seamless and strong overarching brand experience across in-store, digital and mobile mediums.
Focus on Extent and Intent of Media Usage
Although we have made some broad statements about different generations, we recognize that not every person within every generation acts in exactly the same way. There are “Luddite Millennials” and Boomers who don’t use the Internet. When budgets are an issue (and they usually are), the best solution is to take time to review carefully the extent and intent of your individual markets: To what extent do members of a generation use various media, and what are they using it for? Then place your media dollars proportionately and use messaging that resonates with that generation’s purpose for using that particular medium.
Related story: Gender-Based Marketing: A Thing of the Past?