How to Successfully Market to Multiple Generations

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Marketing Tips

It’s no secret that generations have different values and priorities. But what does that mean for businesses marketing to multiple audience segments? How can you be sure your message resonates with everyone—no matter their age?

Many brands try to appeal to a diverse consumer base with their marketing, but end up targeting them ineffectively. As a result, we’ve all experienced that cringe moment when encountering a message that doesn’t quite “stick.” 

But here’s the good news: Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z, and the newest cohort, Generation Alpha (also called Gen A), have more in common than you might think…

Authenticity: It Appeals to Everyone

Each generation is looking for a unique brand experience that speaks to them personally. So how can we create this experience for everyone? 

Start by identifying what connects your audience segments. Then, deliver an authentic experience around it. When we prioritize brand authenticity, it helps create messaging and campaigns that resonate with everyone in your audience–no matter their age.

Find Your Generation(s)

To develop effective marketing messages across generations, it’s important to understand where your audience is spending their time and what they’re interested in.

As an example, Baby Boomers are more likely to get their daily news from the local newspaper in the early morning, whereas Gen Z-ers are more likely to read the same news online in the afternoons or evenings. 

Knowing this information, marketers looking to reach Boomers should probably avoid delivering messages via late-night TV ads or Twitter posts.

Craft Messages to Connect

Even if you understand your audience inside and out, crafting effective intergenerational marketing messages can be tricky. Today more than ever, it’s important to avoid stereotypes and cliches when creating content and prioritize relevance when speaking to different age groups. 

Example: If you’re targeting Boomers and Gen X-ers, your message could offer a financial return or highlight family-like values. Millennials and Gen Z-ers, on the other hand, may be more interested in messages around social issues or affordability.

When done correctly, crafting and delivering the right message will help create a connection with your audience that transcends age.

Intergenerational Marketing Strategies

Beyond connection, every marketer wants their audience to take action. To aid in that process, check out these strategies for kickstarting a multi-generation campaign…

  • Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964). This generation tends to be motivated by value propositions. As this group ages into retirement, Boomers are looking for an active lifestyle that helps them feel connected to their youth. “What’s in it for me?” is a motivating question for boomers with buying power.
  • Gen X (born 1965-1980). Members of this generation have spent their lives “stuck in the middle” between Boomers and Millennials. While this generation shares some characteristics with both groups, it also has its own distinct identity. Gen Xers want authenticity in brand relationships, meaning they don’t want to feel like they’re being sold. Creating a personal—even emotional—connection with this group is a fantastic way to motivate them to take action.
  • Millennials (born 1981-1996). This generation is motivated by ideals and impact. While they’re known for technology adoption and use of social media, Millennials make purchasing decisions based on their values. They like seeing brands make a positive impact in the world and connect well to cause-related marketing efforts.
  • Gen Z (born 1997-2012). This digital-native generation is the most ethnically-diverse generation and shares Millennial interest in social responsibility. Messages designed to reach this group should be culturally sensitive and future-focused. And because they want to engage with brands that care about more than just profits, Gen Z is likely to notice when a company commits to being socially responsible.
  • Generation Alpha (born early 2010’s-2025). Raised on apps, iPads, and digital media of all sorts, this newest cohort is technologically savvy and socially conscious. This group is acutely aware of global issues that affect multiple generations and more closely connected to brands than pre-internet generations were ever able to be. One highly motivating factor for this group is agency, meaning they want to be part of the process. This group likes to feel actively involved with brands they support, whether it be through collaboration, memberships, or simply using their voice. Give them an opportunity, and they’ll grab it!

Common Ground Communication

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to getting different generations to take action. However, there is common ground to stand on. 

Implementing messages around your brand’s values or impact is bound to make a positive impression across generations. Additionally, delivering messages about the benefits of your products/services—followed by authentic engagement—is a great way to build a happy, inclusive audience. 

Together, strategies like these encourage action. It’s no easy task, but experienced marketers can help you navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with reaching multiple generations.

Want to continue the conversation? Get in touch to see what we can do for your next marketing campaign.

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