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How to Adjust your Marketing Approach for Each Generation

Author: Amanda Hosking


In the modern age, there are a variety of marketing techniques. Traditional methods are still in use and are successful, but digital methods are being increasingly applied and have been found to be effective, especially with younger generations.

So, how do you effectively market to each generation?

Baby Boomers (1940 - 1964)

This generation is now in their late fifties to early eighties. They were born at a time without any technology, and it only came along later in life meaning they struggle more with digital tech. Marketing should, therefore, be in traditional forms such as magazines, newspapers, mail, and TV.

This generation is either in or approaching retirement, so they will have money to spend and they will choose to spend it wisely. Brands need to think about what it is these customers want as they reach retirement age.

group of older adults                                                                                                                                 Source:independant.co.uk

Brand Loyalty

Baby Boomers tend to stick with brands they know because they are reliable and trustworthy. This indicates they have high brand loyalty. Examples are Levi Jeans, Volkswagen, Dove, and Coca-Cola. If brands market themselves well, via traditional methods, they could gain many loyal customers.

Social Media Approach

This generation do use social media but they use it in a different way to younger ages. They will tend to use the more conventional platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and post images of grandchildren and old family photos. Brands should stick to these platforms to target Baby Boomers and make ads clear and simple.

Sales and Promotions

Whereas Millennials and Gen Z don't react well to sales tactics, Baby Boomers are more open to it. This means promotional material can be sent to this generation via mail, TV ads, in stores etc. This will help to generate sales as they are likely to respond to these materials. In-store sales will also work for this age group.

Generation X (1965-1979)

This generation is now in their mid-thirties to early fifties. What is striking about Generation X is that they embody the values of Baby Boomers and Millennials. This is a mixture of a generation where people born earlier will share some of the views of the Baby Boomers, and people born later will take on some of the modern ways of the Millennials. This makes marketing slightly trickier.

friends tv cast                                                                                                                                     Source: telegraph.co.uk

Email Marketing

Although not as tech savvy as millennials, Gen X will have learned to use a variety of technology over the years for work and social use. One popular digital application with this generation is email, as it is essential for work and convenient for everyday use.

This means email marketing will work well for Gen X. Create emails that have appealing headlines and engaging visuals to gather interest.

Offers and Deals

This generation are savers and are in the middle of family life. They may have young children to care for and teenagers heading to university. This means they will be on the lookout for ways to save money.

Brands should advertise their deals through video advertising, social media, and email to attract Gen X’s attention. For example, beauty website ‘lookfantastic’ send out regular emails with discounts and offers for customers.

A Multi-Purpose Approach

Generation X grew up without technology but have quickly adapted to using it. This means they will be open to different avenues of marketing. Brands can target GenX via: TV advertisements, paper flyers, newspaper ads, emails, websites, social media and more.

They are viewed as the middle child in between Baby Boomers and Millennials and often get forgotten about. But Gen X are a great target group as they are likely to be working and have a family, and are open to various avenues of marketing - traditional and digital.


Millennials (1980-1994)

You will probably have heard a lot of talk about millennials in recent years. This is because they are now a large part of the workforce, with ages ranging from early twenties to late thirties. This also means they are a key target demographic for marketers as they are earning a living and are in a prime stage of life to be spending their money.

For example, many twenty year olds will be buying their first car, purchasing a home, pursuing a career, and socialising with colleagues and friends. These all require spending money, such as on new furniture for a house. So how do brands target Millennials?

group of young people                                                                                                                                  Source: huffingtonpost.com

It’s all about digital

Millennials were the first generation to experience the wonders of technology as children. Many will have had their first mobile phone at high school and will have been experts on the computer by then too. As they have grown up with constantly developing technology, Millennials fully embrace the digital age and are rarely away from their phones and other devices. This means brands will need to target Millennials via digital avenues and keep them consistently engaged.

Social media is key

This age group were the first to be introduced to the world of social media. Before Facebook, there was MySpace which allowed people to create their own page and express their views and opinions. This was the start of social media and many Millennials will engage with the likes of Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis. Brands should have a big presence on social media and think of new, inventive ways to catch the attention of their audience.

For example, many brands create their own Snapchat filters for people to use. This is simple, fun, and engages people with the brand. Users then share their Snapchats with others meaning the brand is getting further attention.

Avoid Being Too Pushy with Sales

In previous generations putting on a sales pitch for a customer was an effective way to achieve a sale. As was promotional material such as posters and adverts in magazines.

However, Millennials do not react well to sales pitches as they find them too pushy and feel they are not genuine. This age group favour trust and credibility and so are more likely to listen to recommendations from a friend or read reviews online.

To be successful here brands need to create ways to come across as reliable such as providing a review section on their website.

Generation Z (1995 onwards)

Generation Z come right after the Millennials and whilst both have similar traits there are some inherent differences. Although both are tech savvy, Gen Z are further invested into the digital world and find new ways to use it. They are the youngsters finding their way in life and using the internet to do so.

Many are in their teens and so are a key target to many young adult orientated brands. New clothes, makeup, phones, gadgets, and much more will be purchased at this age.

teenagers                                                                                                                                     Source: dailycaller.com

Provide Captivating Content and Useful Resources


Generation Z are the experts of the web, they have grown up with technology and thus know how to use it for their own needs.

They will quickly scroll past adverts and promotional content in favour of something that is useful to them. This means brands need to provide content that is beneficial for the customer, not just for their sales. Examples include blogs, tutorials, advice, reviews, and videos.

First Impressions Count


Being constant internet users, Gen Z have access to millions of different, competing brands. To catch their eye and keep them on a website brands need to be relevant and up to date. They should think about the design and layout of their website and if it would be attractive to customers.

If this age group feel like a website is old, out of date, and has a lack of interesting information, they will have an instant bad impression of the brand and move on to the next website. Also ensure the web page works on a mobile phone!

Grab and Hold Their Attention


Generation Z have a mere 8-second attention span…that’s right! This requires brands to develop fresh, interesting content that can grab their attention and hold it long enough to comment on a photo, watch a video, or read a blog article.

Create content that is short and snappy and puts a message across that is of interest to the audience. Generation Z are more likely to click through to content if they know the basis of it, why it is important, and how it will be of use to them.

The Generations

As can be seen above, there are a variety of marketing techniques that can be used for these four generations. Decide who your target audience is, then apply these techniques accordingly to increase customers and sales.