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Marketing to and for the Generations

Unless you began your career with the Zuckerberg Team, it’s more than likely that you are surrounded by all four generations within your workplace. Today marketers must focus not only on their product or brand, but on how to engage with the varied demographics in their audience as well. Every generation is different and unique in their own way; therefore, it is important to understand what resonates with each group and what doesn’t. Sit back for a moment and look around your work environment. You’ll soon notice that not everyone is carrying an iPad or Blackberry, and more often than not, there are staff members who still prefer to read their news on paper rather than on the World Wide Web.

These factors are critical when it comes to today’s marketing campaigns to ensure your message is relayed in the correct context, and in the communication channel preferred by different groups. Think about the potential clients and customers you might miss when using only single channel marketing. If you market only with Email and Social Media, you’ll miss a portion of the generations who may not be technically inclined, and if you market only with direct mail, you’ll miss a portion of the “connected” generations who prefer to manage their information digitally. This is why multi-channel integration provides more cost efficient marketing results.

So what are the four generations you might ask? Over the years there have been many studies done to determine the bracket in which one should fall into. To keep it simple, below you will find the four main generations that are among us today:

Traditionalists: Born between 1927 – 1945

Baby Boomers: between 1946 – 1964

Generation X: between 1965 – 1985

Millennials (also known as Gen Y): between 1985 – 2004

The way you communicate with your audience, will in turn affect the outcome of your campaign. When you are looking to provide product or brand information to the Traditionalists, print media is key. This generation is starting to become more tech-savvy but also values face-to-face interaction. The Baby-Boomer generation still relies very heavily on TV for their source of information. Although this generation is the first to start using mobile devices, many of them like to keep the usage simple, primarily using the device for phone calls and text messages. Be prepared for a challenge if you’re trying to reach out to Gen Xers, studies show that this is one of the hardest generations to reach out to and to communicate with. They do however; correspond a lot through word of mouth, email, and social gatherings. The Millennials are going to be the easiest to communicate with. They can be targeted with both online and offline marketing as long as it is creative and shows some value. Surprisingly, with 2,904 media messages hitting the Millennials daily, this group is often underwhelmed, not overwhelmed!

Work Force

As you can see there are many different ways to separate the generations and how one should try to communicate with them; but be sure to keep your messages integrated and consistent on all channels. In addition to multi-channel marketing, it is essential to take advantage of today’s technology and make sure your messages are highly personalized and relevant to your target audiences. Utilizing variable data printing, targeted and trigger marketing techniques, and personalization on every level, is indicative of dynamic marketing techniques that get results. Using data to target your messages to each individual is the key to successful campaigns. Oddly enough not everyone is attracted to pink and sparkles like myself, it’s weird how that works.