If you put a 73-year-old and a 23-year-old in a room and tell them that you’re going to follow them, you should expect two very different reactions. The 73-year-old will probably tense up and ask why, maybe even call the police if they’re the type. The 23-year-old, on the other hand, will give you their Instagram handle.
These two people come from very different generations. These generational differences are important to take note of not only when it comes to being “followed”, but more importantly, when it comes to marketing. Here’s a list of handy questions to ask when you’re thinking of going the generational marketing route:
Purpose is important in everything anyone does. Without purpose, or the “why”, whatever we do is frankly meaningless. Your brand and what your product means should have a purpose before it’s good to put out on the market. It should also have a purpose when it comes to your target market. What type of purpose does it serve them? Make sure your “why” is in order before you move on to the next step.
The second step to successful generational marketing is knowing who your target market is. There are five main classifications for generations. The first is the Greatest Generation or those born before 1946. The next are the baby boomers who were born around 1946 – 1964. Generation X was born between 1965 to 1979. Gen Y, or otherwise notoriously known as The Millennials were born between 1980 to 1996. Finally, Gen Z, also known as iGen or the Digital Natives were born between 1997 to 2015.
After knowing who you’re targeting, the next step should be knowing what they like and what’s relevant to them. Each generation is different and possess different quirks that are unique to their generation. For example, millennials are notorious for being tech savvy and are always on the lookout for the next great adventure, especially when it comes to employment. Baby boomers on the other hand adapted to technology, which means they require more help with it. They’re also recognized for sticking around when they like their job. Baby boomers are a very loyal bunch and may even stay at a company for decades or until they retire.
These commonalities when it comes to behavior are key in identifying what next steps you should take when promoting a product or launching a brand.
If you’ve accomplished the steps above, the next thing you should be doing is ironing out the “how”. As in, “How am I going to put this out to market?” “How is this going to benefit the lives of my target audience?” and “How do I make sure this is relevant to the people I’m targeting?”
This is usually when all your data and hard work translate into creativity. The first three steps were just building blocks to help you get to your “how”. At this stage, you can now begin to experiment on what works for you and who your message is for.
Although generational marketing may be a great way to reach mass audiences, it’s important to remember there are other types of marketing tools to help you reach more specific audiences. The pitfall of generational marketing is that it’s too broad; there are so many other things that it might miss. So if you do use it, be careful and make sure you take a good look at the data before crafting your messages.
Also, there’s no solid laws on generational marketing. This is just a guide to help you get your ideas flowing. So get out there and get started!