Generation Marketing: What Is It and What For

Pauline Volovik
6 min readJan 5, 2023

When it is time for building communication with customers, the most essential thing for businesses is to understand who they are and what they are driven by when purchasing and interacting with a company. There are lots of criteria for audience segmentation, such as age, sex, location, interests, etc.

But what if we build a strategy based on generations: their distinctive features, preferences, and behavior?

What Is Generation Marketing

Generation marketing is a strategy based on the understanding of differences between customers’ behaviors according to their age group (generation). Many are skeptical about the generation theory, supposing that it is just a set of stereotypes. However, we cannot argue the fact that people born in a certain time period had their specific experiences. And it affects directly the way they should be treated.

According to Beresford Research, society consists of such generations as baby boomers (1955–1964), X (1965–1980), Y (1981–1996), Z (1997–2012). Each has their own set of beliefs, preferences, and experience obtained, that influences their ideas and actions. We can thus assume how they act as customers.

If we are talking about baby boomers, they grew up in a post-war time. The biggest part of their lives was without smartphones. They are inclined to save money and shop in offline stores instead of searching the Internet. As for Gen X, they met the recession period, making them thrifty and often doubt changes and innovations, preferring to stick to what they know best.

Millennials were those developing together with modern technologies. Social networks are a familiar habitat for them. Despite Gen Z growing up with smartphones in their hands, their experience is different from those of Gen Y. The Gen Z representatives value financial stability because of the COVID-19 stress. They spend money carefully and prefer companies that invest money and resources in building quality communication.

No one says that Generation marketing is the only correct approach to customer behavior analysis and communication building. Nevertheless, when understanding the cultural context and experience gained by each of the TA segments, you can make a solid foundation for personalized marketing campaigns.

Generation Gap

It seems evident that people who were born in different time frames are distinct from one another. However, it has to do not only with their views but also with a shopping mechanism. I suggest learning more about the transformation the customer behavior underwent from Gen X to Gen Y.

Gen X

Gen X was born in the mid-1960s — the beginning of the 1980s. This group is often overlooked, since it is believed to be small. According to Statista, representatives of this generation are only 19.83% of the world population. Their number was 68.5 million in 2021, states Statista. It is significantly less than the number of Gen Y or Z representatives.

Gen X are cautious with money and skeptical about companies’ marketing efforts, since the latter has not worked on building a connection with this group. There even is an expression «The forgotten generation» addressed to Gen X. They received no attention either from the media or companies.

People who are mainly convinced that old and tested is better than the new unknown, it is especially true for early Gen X. However, they trust and stay loyal to companies focused on nostalgia. For instance, marketing campaigns with an allusion to popular films or books, campaigns with stars or music they associate with childhood.

This generation values reliability, is reluctant to change habits, and appreciates guarantees that can ensure their experience is predictable.

Gen X has impressive resources for purchasing. Under a sound approach, this audience is ready to build strong relations with companies.

Generation Y

Here we are talking about Millennials. These are people born between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s. It is the first generation growing alongside modern technologies. It is considered one of the most numerous. According to Statista, the USA population alone has about 72.19 million representatives of this age group.

The majority of companies consider this group to be their target audience. And it can be simply explained. According to Statista, in 2020 alone, 86.5% of online store customers were Millennials. Their behavior has been affected by COVID-19. After the pandemic, 40% said that they would spend more on traveling and comfort.

Millennials are the people who are inclined to spend more than save. They are positive about advertising, make impulsive purchases, and are easy to communicate with. Moreover, they fall under the influence of opinion leaders. It is the reason marketers often use influence marketing in their case. This generation worries about ecology and values companies that share the same ideas.

According to Deloitte, 40% said that they would build relations (or strengthen the existing ones) with eco-aware companies. We should add that this generation is neither racially nor ethnically homogenous. Therefore, Millennials prefer an inclusive business that supports social equality.

Generation Z

Gen Z representatives were born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s. Modern gen Z is the most diverse and technically skilled. Despite most of them being still young, their purchasing power is already going up.

According to Exploding topics, 38% of the Gen is in the labor force already. Due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they value financial stability above all and spend money responsibly. Numerous companies are already focusing the majority of their marketing efforts on Gen Z customer engagement and retention.

Zoomers actively use social networks and are positive about platform ads: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.

Gen Z value connection and communication with a brand. According to Exploding topics, the young generation is more inclined to subscribe to and follow brands (34%) than influencers (30%) unlike Gen Y. Zoomers support brands that speak the same language, give feedback, and clearly share their values.

Pros and Cons of Generation Marketing

Generation marketing can be the foundation for company development. A generation marketing strategy creates a more comprehensive picture of target markets. It helps businesses understand where to find consumers, how to communicate with them, and how to transform them into loyal customers.

While analyzing the specification of product or service search by a certain generation, you can select relevant placements to build efficient communication and create ad messages that will give greater results.

Nevertheless, generation marketing as a main strategy cannot be relevant for all businesses. For example, if goods or services are designed for women of all ages, generation marketing can be an additional instrument rather than a list of rules.

This customer data will not be redundant. However, it must gradually become relevant to business goals and tasks.

Conclusion

Generation marketing is not about collecting stereotypes about people born in a certain period of time. It is the method used to collect and analyze information about how generations think, act, and believe.

By dedicating enough time and resources, companies can create personalized and efficient marketing strategies that will work out.

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