5 Things You Should Know About Generational Marketing | Social Joey

It’s nearly impossible to do a Google search these days for the word “marketing” and not see multiple articles related to best practices for marketing to a specific generation.

Even as recently as a decade ago, marketing was simply marketing. You had a defined audience, but you didn’t pay an incredible amount of attention to generational specifics

Today’s marketing landscape is a different world. “Generational marketing” is everywhere, and supposedly, businesses that use it are more successful than those that don’t.

But what’s the real scoop about generational marketing? Read on as we take a dive into the topic.

Defining Generational Marketing

Before we really start dialing in some specifics about generational marketing, let’s first nail down what it even is.

Well, it’s really exactly what it sounds like. “Generational marketing” simply means marketing toward a specific generation, or a target age group/demographic.

This type of marketing has been around for a while, but there are a lot of misconceptions about how it works and whether it’s actually a meaningful tactic. Here are five things to know:

It’s a Complement, Not a Standalone

Like any other aspect of marketing, generational marketing works best in coordination with other things. You aren’t going to get anywhere if you’re simply aiming your marketing toward one generation of people and hoping it sticks.

Effective marketing requires a combination of tactics, techniques, platforms, and mediums. One of the first steps in creating a marketing campaign is to identify a target audience, which often involves the development of personas.

If you were solely focused on generational marketing, you’d nail down your persona’s age and then move on to create marketing content. But people are so much more than their age!

To truly capture your audience, you’ll want to know what generation they belong to, but you also need to know other aspects of their lives and personalities. Successful marketing takes all of that complementary information into consideration to create a detailed picture of who you’re talking to.

Think Outside the (Stereotype) Box

How many times have you read an article about a certain generation and thought, “Whew, that seems awfully stereotypical?” Probably a lot.

There’s a bad tendency when it comes to generational marketing—people get clustered into a box with others in their age group. And then they’re marked with identifiers that may or may not even be true of the generation—and certainly aren’t true of many individuals.

Millennials, for example, are often portrayed as selfish. That’s not a personality identifier, nor is it true of the vast majority of people within that generation. It’s simply become associated with an entire group of people.

When attempting to market to a specific generation, it’s important to step past those stereotypes. For one, flip the stereotype around—consider the trait in a positive light. Is it that millennials are selfish, or are they simply adamant about protecting their own mental and physical well-being?

Another way to avoid being boxed in by stereotypes is to simply delve into more substantial research. Go beyond the first and second assumptions about people of a specific age and truly gain insight about who they are as a group and what makes them tick.

You Can Target Multiple Generations

While there are a few exceptions, it is incredibly rare for a business to have a product or service that’s only appropriate for one specific generation.

That means that in order to effectively sell your brand’s value, you’ll need to market it to multiple generations.

How can you do that, though, when the generations are so different? Well, in all honesty, people are more alike than they are different. While there are subtleties in how you market to people of specific ages, there’s a lot of overlap.

The most important thing is to effectively tell your business’ story—and you can definitely do that in a way that appeals to people of multiple ages and stages of life.

It Requires a Mix of Tactics

The last two decades have seen a huge shift in marketing tactics. Where most marketing used to be tactile—with much of the content in printed materials—today’s marketing meets customers where they are. And they’re online, of course!

But with that said, this is one area where generational preferences come into play. When you’re marketing to younger generations, like Generation Z, you have to remember that they’ve never lived without the internet. (Yes, we feel old. Don’t you?)

On the other hand, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation before them have an established preference for printed collateral like newspapers and magazines. But interestingly enough, they also like to interact with digital media.

The key to finding marketing success, then, is to incorporate a broad mix of marketing tactics into your strategy. This includes creating media both online and off, but also involves using multiple techniques in your digital marketing efforts.

Tailor your strategy to meet multiple generational needs. Incorporate video marketing for Gen Z on platforms like TikTok, while promoting your brand and expertise on multiple social media platforms to catch the eyes of a savvy Millennial audience.

One tactic that can reach all generations? Spread word of mouth wherever you can; people of all ages respond to hearing reviews and testimonials from other customers who have actually used your product or service.

You Need to Be Real

Marketing is not an area where you can fake it ‘til you make it. People of all ages will see right through it.

No matter what platform you’re posting on, or the content you’re creating, it’s important to keep it real. Provide your audience with content that’s useful, helpful, and relevant—and skip anything that runs the risk of feeling inauthentic.

To do that, strike a careful and precise balance between organic content and promoted content. People want to see your brand in “the wild,” and that means stumbling across it or seeing it go viral without feeling like they’re being targeted by an ad.

That’s not to say advertising is a no-go, because it’s an incredibly effective tactic. Just make those ads feel like they aren’t ads—making them genuine, helpful, and transparent.

No matter what generations you’re marketing to, we can put your plans into action! Get in touch today to learn how we can help.