Generational marketing: Using technology to communicate with a variety of generations

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you need to drive your marketing messages to a variety of generations and customers. That requires a clear understanding of how they want to receive messages and what technology is appropriate.

I did some secondary research to determine what marketing messages are most appropriate. I found a report from the Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business. It is information rich, so I will just highlight some key points.

Generational marketing

Silent Generation (65-80):

  • Slow to embrace anything new
  • Many in excellent health and very active
  • Use themes that stress active lifestyles
  • Emphasize traditional values, e.g., commitment, responsibility, made in USA
  • Feel no need for information age, but younger members are fastest growing group of Internet users
  • Communication in formal means, written, face-to-face

Boomers (46-64):

  • Want quick fixes, options, flexibility
  • Don’t remind them they are growing old
  • Like information presented in terms of categories and options, simple facts
  • Like the convenience and customization of Internet
  • Use of mobile phone is high, but very limited beyond voice calls

Generation X (34-45):

  • They think multicultural and global
  • Want things more useful and practical, but stimulating, challenging, and flexible without long term commitment
  • Want products and messages designed for their lifestyle
  • Cable and Internet is where they look for product information
  • Like Internet, e-mail, multi-media, word-of-mouth, and direct mail for marketing messages

Generation Y (16-33):

  • Are self-absorbed, self-reliant, independent, but very peer driven
  • Traditional mass marketing approaches don’t work well
  • Peers often guide product and brand choices
  • Respond to media and TV programs designed for them
  • Combination of online, offline, and word-of-mouth channels are best
  • Use e-mail, voice-mail, Internet, multi-media, direct mail catalogs, magazines
  • Reach them digitally with websites, microsites, web marketing (banner ads, pop-ups, screensavers)

I did some secondary research to determine, by generation, who has and who uses what. It seems most businesses want to communicate using the latest technology and I wondered if that was always an appropriate thing to do. I found some interesting facts about technology.

Generational Technology

Generational marketing chart

Once you clearly know which generation is your target, combine the right message for that generation and deliver it where they want it and how they want it.

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2 Responses to Generational marketing: Using technology to communicate with a variety of generations

  1. Carol Graham May 20, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    Extremely interesting post but I sure don’t fit the profile. My age is in the silent generation, my profile between Generation X and Y and for devices – Generation X This sure helps me to understand why I am ‘weird’. 🙂

    Carol @ Battered Hope

  2. brad462 May 21, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    Some of these labels I would disagree with on many levels, but all in all, well defined Laura. There were THREE major influences that shifted Gen Y Millennials behavior, making them VERY different than any other generation.

    As a Boomer, we were cynical about anything new…”wait and see if it stays around” was our mantra. Now we have a generation that plays the Tech Envy game, buying the latest cool device.

    Check out my book on the subject- Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia:

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