For your marketing to be effective, you need to target the right people with the best message at the perfect moment.
However, this can be difficult if your audience spans the age spectrum, as the generation an individual was born in can affect how they view the world and which method is best for reaching them. Currently, the big four consumer groups are baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and Generation Z. Consider these marketing tactics to better hit your prime demographic—and tailor your marketing to appeal to all of them.
Know your demographics
A baby boomer who grew up reading newspapers before the dawn of the internet may react differently to a marketing campaign than someone from Generation Z who’s always known smartphones and spends hours online daily. Your marketing will be more effective if you understand the basic characteristics of each main consumer age group.
These individuals were born after World War II through the mid-1960s, which means Google and smartphones didn’t exist until they were in their thirties, forties, or even fifties. As consumers, they hold the most spending power, especially as many are retired from the workforce.
This generation, which has fewer members than those before and following it, was born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s. They spent their formative years without the internet but began adopting it as young adults. They are in their prime spending years and are likely busy with their homes, families, and careers.
Born from the early eighties to the mid-nineties, this age demographic, also known as Generation Y, is more familiar with the internet than boomers and Gen Xers and is currently the largest group of consumers. Because most started their careers around the time of or after the Great Recession of 2008, they generally have less disposable income than previous generations did at their age.
This group was born between the late 1990s and early 2010s. They are digital natives who grew up with the internet and spend a significant amount of time online; while some are only preteens, others are married and raising young families. They are the best-educated generation to date and, along with millennials, are the most ethnically and racially diverse. They also tend to be socially minded and more anxious and pessimistic than previous generations—some attribute this to the isolating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the omnipresence of social media in this group’s formative years.
Target their lifestyle
Since every generation has, in essence, experienced a world unlike that of the generation before, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t be incredibly effective and could even damage your brand. Whether you’re looking to market to a single age demographic or all four, you’ll find the most success by creating targeted marketing campaigns whose content appeals to each one’s individual characteristics, preferences, and values.
To reach baby boomers, for example, you might want to tap into their appreciation for a healthy and active lifestyle and highlight popular hobbies such as domestic travel to trendy urban locales, visits with friends and family, and raised-bed and container gardening. Add a hint of nostalgia as well—memorable topics such as rotary phones, Woodstock, and reading the Sunday funnies may all connect with this demographic.
Gen Xers might also respond well to nostalgic themes, though for them, focus on memories such as growing up as latchkey kids, making mix tapes, and playing video games in an arcade. Meanwhile, millennial and Gen Z consumers tend to look forward and support environmental and social causes, so be sure to promote your company’s eco-friendly and community initiatives. The better you know what makes the different generations tick, the easier it will be to hone your marketing campaigns.
Choose your media
Each generation uses media differently, which means that if you want to reach consumers from a variety of age groups, you should utilize various content types, including print ads, social media posts, and YouTube videos. For instance, baby boomers and Gen Xers, who both grew up reading newspapers, may respond well to direct mail marketing such as postcards and coupons. However, these generations are also online; good platforms to target them on include Facebook and YouTube.
Generally, print materials aren’t as effective with millennials or Gen Z, so be sure to direct your attention to online efforts for this age group. Millennials tend to appreciate informative content and may be better reached by inbound marketing like blog posts, YouTube videos, and other how-to information. Gen Zers, meanwhile, spend many hours on TikTok, though Instagram is also still a favorite with this generation.
While everyone is an individual and nobody is guaranteed to fit the common characteristics of their generation, tailoring your marketing campaigns to the age group you’re targeting will make it much more likely that you’ll see success.
Determine your prime age demographic, and customize a marketing campaign for that group.