Bridging the generation gap: Tailoring your brand to multiple age groups

Posted on May 9, 2019

Unless single-use rainwear is your only product, one size probably won’t fit all from an advertising point of view. The most durable brands market their products and services in such a way that more than one age group responds to them at any given time. Boosting cross-generational sales means understanding how each generation interacts with technology. Below are some examples:

Generation Z
Known for keeping their eyes on the screen, Gen Zers have lived in the digital age since birth. They’re supremely comfortable with tweets, texts, taps, videos, chatbots, apps, and digital technology in general. They’re also societally aware in ways that their baby boomer cousins find familiar, and they’re using social media events and crowdfunding campaigns to encourage positive change.

The take-aways
If you’re selling to Gen Zers, speak to their conscience as well as their budget. Create mobile-friendly advertisements, keep textual content to a minimum, and let videos and images tell your brand story.

Millennials
Arriving on the scene when digital technology was gaining momentum, millennials have adopted it in large numbers, but not necessarily for fun. The Great Recession happened when they were coming of age during the 2000s, and the one-two punch of rising debt coupled with falling wages has forced many of them to work several jobs just to get by. They’re in a hurry, and their technological preferences prove it.

The take-aways
Millennials expect 24/7 service. Don’t ask them to play email or phone tag for days at a stretch. They prefer texts and direct messages, which typically give them the information they need within minutes.

Generation X
Born in the 1960s through the early 1980s, Gen Xers live on a technological cusp. They’re just as likely to own hardbacks as they are e-readers. They remember four-channel television, longish commercial breaks, and clunky cassettes and videotapes (small wonder they enjoy streaming content). Generation Xers were using rudimentary word processors while the Internet expanded its usability footprint, evolving from arcane novelty to mainstream necessity. And Xers have been glad to adapt to their new environment. One example of their versatility is their willingness to use web or mobile applications to purchase their hardback books, perhaps with the aid of a virtual assistant.

The take-aways
Achieving success with Generation X means appealing to both innovation and fond recollection, whether digitally or in print. The best campaigns begin with compelling content that prompts Xers—and others—to take action.

Baby boomers
Today’s boomers matured against a backdrop of enormous conflict that lasted from the 1940s to the 1960s. A vibrant postwar climate encouraged the rethinking of long-held assumptions and the pursuit of civil rights for all. Along with these social changes came technological improvements, as portable typewriters gave way to electric ones and eventually to desktop and laptop computers—which boomers do use, even if they weren’t early adopters. They appreciate the convenience of one-click buying sites and the connectedness of social media platforms. And as boomers grow older and their eyesight and hearing undergo age-related changes, they’ll be more likely to seek out accessible websites.

The take-aways
Don’t write baby boomers out of your marketing plan. They may have gray hair, but they’ve ridden wave after wave of social transformation, and they have the life experience to prove it. They’re also prime candidates for the nostalgia market and its impressive inventory of everything from bohemian clothing to vinyl records. Don’t give up on print advertising with this demographic. Boomers are more likely than younger generations to respond favorably to long-form content.

As a marketer, you’re also a motivator, and the first step in motivating your audience is to know how it thinks. That’s why monitoring the needs and desires of your target demographics makes good business sense. To learn more about designing your next campaign for a specific age group, please contact us.