Learn how #marketing works across all generations with Lissa McPhillips
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Lissa McPhillips

Understanding Generational Marketing

Generational Marketing is a strategy whereby a business promotes its offering by segmenting and targeting its customers according to different age groups.

Okay, I fully agree…

There are an awful lot of buzz words in marketing! It can be difficult to keep up sometimes. Add to that, as technology evolves so too does marketing. Buyers are always looking at new ways of engaging with brands and as a business, it can be daunting and somewhat overwhelming trying to figure out what the best way to get in front of your buyers is.

Enter Generational Marketing.

More than another buzz word … it’s a strategy!  And a strategy that will allow you get in-front of a wide cross-section of buyers.

Generational Marketing Explained

Simply put, Generational Marketing is about how each generation interacts with advertising channels.

Why is this important you might ask? Well, if your buyer’s range in age from 18-65 you may find that you need to vary your advertising channel to reach everyone. Of course, there will be natural affinities and similarities found between generations and understanding this ahead of time will allow you to segment your advertising so that you get the right message to the right segment using the right channels.

Segmenting your target audience can help you reach specific niches and tailor your message to specific types of people. This ultimately enables you to nurture customers, drive conversions with precision, and provide a personalised experience for your audience.

Before we look at understanding why this strategy is so important, let’s review the different generational brackets:

Gen Z – Born Between 1997–2012
Millennials – Born Between 1981–1996
Gen X – Born Between 1965–1980
Baby Boomers – Born Between 1946–1964

Although some of the shopping habits among people of one generation might differ slightly depending on the product or service they are looking into, many basic characteristics ring true across a generation.

Let’s look at each group in more detail.

Gen Z

  • Gen Z use their devices for almost everything. They even watch TV on their smartphones while chatting with friends on social media!
  • Values are also important to them so make sure your messaging connects their values with yours.
  •  Digital is the way to get in front of these guys  but not necessarily what may seem like invasive ads. This group prefer organic reach through interesting blogs, social media, guest posts etc. And don’t forget podcasts and digital radio – two other possible channels to focus your spend on.


  • Millennials grew up with digital media, are very tech-savvy and are omnichannel shoppers. Research shows that roughly 60% of millennials use some mix of digital and in-store to research a product or service before making a purchase.
  • Millennials are online spenders and like to research products or services before purchasing. This is where social proof comes into play – testimonies, peer reviews etc.
  • Now in their early 40s, their lives are busy with growing families and progressing careers. Convenience, a good experience and value for money are all key for them so they are likely to hop between brands and try new ones to get the best price.
  • Given all this, ensure that you’re providing them with the information they require to make a purchase (blogs, remarketing); that they get a good on-line buying experience (SEO and website design) and that they can easily find buyer reviews, testimonies and case studies to further cement their decision to buy.

Gen X

  • Gen X are now at the height of their careers, which means they are now in their prime spending years.
  • Many Gen Xers have started families and have children that are school-aged or in college. As a result, this generation holds strong family values. Many of their decisions are influenced by their desire for financial security and their family’s safety.
  • Gen X are a unique generation because they didn’t fully grow up with technology like Gen Z and millenials did, but they are still open to it. Gen Xers are quick technology adopters and are very active on social platforms, but they do still engage with traditional media. Many continue to listen to the radio, read newspapers, and watch traditional television.
  • Trust is an important factor for this family-oriented generation. They will research brands and businesses before making a purchase. Gen X are brand loyal, and will enrol in loyalty and reward programs for brands that they like and trust. In fact, new research shows that Gen X are the most brand loyal of the generations.
  • Most Gen X shoppers are on social media, but they tend to be more influenced by email marketing campaigns. Given that they are at the height of their careers, Gen X is one of the more financially stable generations. They are planning for retirement, so they tend to look
    for purchases that are on sale or provide high value.
  • Don’t assume Gen X aren’t responsive to digital. They are tech-forward and receptive to digital advertising across channels and devices.

Baby Boomers

  • While this generation didn’t grow up with digital technology, they are catching up fast. Baby boomers are beginning to retire, but they are still big spenders. As this generation is approaching and entering retirement, they have disposable income and want to spend, but they want to spend it well and wisely.
  • Baby boomers were well into adulthood when home computers and internet usage became a household norm. As a result, they aren’t considered as tech- savvy as Gen Z and millenials, but they shouldn’t be discounted. Baby boomers own and use smartphones, many spend up to 5 hours a day on their devices. Additionally, baby boomers use search engines, email and shop online.
  • Baby boomers tend to gravitate toward premium brands and stores. This generation is willing to spend more money for a high-quality product. Compared to other generations, baby boomers spend the most across all categories and the most per transaction.
  • Baby boomers have high expectations when it comes to customer service—both online and offline. Quality and pleasant interactions with brands and their employees will leave a good impression on this generation, and lead to brand loyalty.

The Benefits of Generation Marketing

Like all good marketing, the core of generational marketing should be around identifying the concerns / challenges / pain points of each group and providing them with a solution!

Despite commonalities across generations, each also has its own set of beliefs, preferences and shared experiences that influence the ways they think and act — especially when it comes to making purchase decisions or how they interact with brands. Technological developments over time, financial stability and educational exposure all influence how these generations approach interactions.

Despite the differences between generations, brands and businesses can take advantage of the commonalities of each generation. While companies may not use the same channels or messaging, the strategies can follow similar approaches.

For example, honesty and integrity are characteristics that consumers look for from brands across all generations. Being straightforward with messaging and offers results in a stronger relationship with the market.

Each generation also prefers personalised communications and experiences from brands with which they have relationships. There is a strong desire for one-to-one acknowledgement from advertisers. 

It is important to remember it comes to marketing, a “one size fits all” strategy simply doesn’t work.

You need to consider all the different audience demographics you’re appealing to and use this to build your marketing strategy around it.

By analysing the different generations within your audience sector, you can use the information to form an effective marketing strategy. If one generation is more active online than another, it makes sense to make the most of this and target them there. Alternatively, if one generation prefers to talk to somebody over the phone, or face to face, take this into account and use it to communicate with them successfully.   

With different generations and audience types, comes different buying habits and behaviour. Each will have unique preferences, and you need to gain a solid understanding of these before you begin marketing to them.

Having a unique marketing strategy sets you apart from other businesses, and this can pay off when it comes to your customers. Don’t just limit yourself to one type of audience. Allow your business to grow and expand by ensuring that you appeal to different generations and audience demographics.

It’s important to remember that understanding your audience needs to be done before the marketing begins.

Dynamic Marketing can help you with this specific strategy. Contact us today to learn more



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