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Blog Post

Generational Marketing on Social Media

September 11, 2018
Table of Contents

Digital Marketers are in a continuous cycle of acquiring new customers and nurturing current customers. In the constant quest for sharing your message, you must also be extremely aware of who that message is going to, as well as the why and the how. A phrase to live by is, “If you are talking to everyone, you are talking to no one.” Your marketing, your messages, your graphics, and your approach should all align with your target audience. When it comes to marketing to different generations, one should take into account what platform each generation is familiar with and uses regularly, how digital-savvy they are, and who they are, what lingo they use, & what interests them. Picture a Baby Boomer on Facebook getting targeted for an ad that incorporates VR. They may keel over. However, if a Millennial is targeted, they could bite, thinking this is a new, cutting edge brand. This article will go over the fundamentals of generational marketing.

Baby Boomers

Born between 1946 – 1964, the Baby Boomers value brand credibility and product quality. With the help of their children/younger friends, they have slowly adapted to using technology. However, they can get very confused by ad retargeting. The verbiage in this retargeting should be taken into account for this older audience.

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, about 64% of Baby Boomers are on social media, with the large majority on Facebook for the purpose of staying connected with friends and loved ones. Now that the platform is known, it is important to understand what is important to this group. Surprisingly, in their retirement, they are not concerned with discounts. Instead, brand quality is key. If you can relay the quality and appeal of your product to them, you will have their full loyalty for a very long time. Moreover, the messaging for this audience should resemble their type of ads – television, newspaper, etc. – and, when possible, inform them that they can talk to someone from your company since they prefer talking to real people. Taking an aggressive approach in your messaging will be viewed as unwelcomed, ignored, and potentially marked as spam.

Gen X

Born between 1965 – 1980, Gen X is around 35 – 50 years old today. With that said, this generation can be split into two: one younger, one older. One tech savvy, one not so much. One that is more millenial, the other more Baby Boomer.

Gen X appreciates businesses that are authentic & honest, that don’t tell them exactly what to do, and that come off as personal. So how does a company portray this to Gen X? By being confident in their product or service, but not outright stating that ‘you need this or else…’ Moreover, be extremely honest and don’t hide information. This generation has strong family values and will support businesses that do as well.

Gen X can be found via email marketing, snail mail to their house, and social media. According to Statista, about 45.7 million Gen X-ers have a social media profile, so speaking to them through social ads with a friendly introduction, preferably Facebook based on the number of users within this generation, is suggested. As stated with the Baby Boomers, the older end of this generation will lean more toward traditional advertising.

Gen Y/Millennials

Born between 1981 – 1996, this generation has had technology basically in hand since birth. They were also raised in a time when equality was established among many characteristics: race, religion, LGBTQ, and more. Therefore, any inequality is unacceptable to this age group.

Millennials can be described as confident, open to change, forward thinking, and… have short attention spans.They also prefer to make a connection prior to becoming a consumer. Enter: Social Media. Social Media is the number one way to reach, speak to, and connect with this audience – both as a brand and as people.

Millennials also favor brand’s that present themselves as genuine. Because they have been introduced to technology and marketing from a very young age, the typical ad tactic, marketing pitch, or sales approach will not work. A more casual, personal, we’re-just-talking approach will work much better for this group.

If possible, offer something of instant gratification to this audience. This will serve as an easy win to get their attention. Moreover, state why your company is the best option for them – plain and simple. Make sure to speak honestly and follow through on anything said or promised. That means no lying, no bending the truth, no vague messages, nada.

Along with social media, your website is absolutely crucial. Make sure that your website is mobile friendly. Millennials have their phones in their pocket or hand 24/7. The majority of their surfing will occur on mobile. If you are not ready to provide a great mobile experience, they will bounce.

Gen Z

The scary truth about Gen Z, born between 1996 – 2010, is that by 2020, they will be 40% of the consumer market. In other words, learning how to speak to them is vital to surviving. They are extremely savvy with the internet and tech. Moreover, because of their lifelong relationship with the internet, they are more critical of ads. If it doesn’t provide value, they scroll away. If it doesn’t look cool or capture their attention, they will not hit Like. And if it is too much of an ask, there will be no entry.

The consumer journey for Gen Z will automatically stop if your business looks out of date. You NEED a beautiful, user-friendly, tasteful website design. You NEED an authentic and aesthetically pleasing social media profile. It is unavoidable.

With this generation, there is no “talking the talk.” What you say must be put into action and needs to be highly relevant and engaging. For example, if your business empowers women entrepreneurs – be at the next conference for Create & Cultivate, sharing valuable information to the physical audience and your virtual following.

Looking at your ad strategy, Gen Z demands more attention than just Facebook Ads. They are bopping around from one device to another and one medium to another. To make an impact, you need spot-on messaging and multiple touches: Facebook, Instagram, Google, Influencers, Snapchat, Spotify, Youtube, and so on. If you are going to grab their attention, you need to show them that you are on top of the trends and everywhere – and show them quickly. With a shorter attention span, your main message needs to be clear and under 5 seconds.

Wrapping Up

It is clear to see the different approaches a marketer should take for each generation. From the digital platform to messaging and the core values of each age group, your digital presence needs to be completely aligned to speak to your specific target audience. However, what remains true across all generations is honest, genuine relationships & business values.

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