You’ve heard it all before: Millennials are killing all the classic industries! Boomers are spending all their money on luxury items, leaving nothing for the rest of us! Gen X is… well, what IS Gen X doing, anyway?
Before we get all worked up, let’s take a look at some common conceptions first.
While it’s true that marketing to different generations can be a challenge, it isn’t impossible. We spend so much time looking for differences when it’s entirely possible to spot commonalities—after all, we are all people, and we all need products and services in our lives.
They might prefer a subscription-based service for almost anything (spending smaller chunks of money regularly is more financially feasible for those who tend to be cash-strapped and it saves people time when spending hours upon hours at work or commuting).
This group is at the perfect age range where some are grandparents and others have young kids, making them ideal candidates for nostalgia marketing, and a perfect group to consume a variety of TV services for the whole family to watch.
This group values conservative morals, hard work, and feeling heard. This might seem like a given for any person, but you must remember that boomers were raised in a period of print, television, and radio ads. Many have also adopted cell phone and computer technologies as well, but some haven’t. Bridging the gap between old-fashioned and high-tech is paramount. They want to read testimonials, mull over details, and consider before buying.
Now let’s focus on what we can do to appeal to a wide swath of age groups.
All people use technology. Whether it’s a smart phone, laptop, desktop, tablet, or something else (think smart watches or e-readers), every age group utilizes technology to some degree. Even medical devices are technology. There’s a way to appeal to everyone using technology—you just need to understand how your demographic uses it.
It can be tempting for people to pit the generations against one another and imply that one is superior to another. “Stupid millennials,” you might hear, “spending all their money on avocado toast and subscriptions! How do they ever expect to get ahead like that?” Alternatively, you might hear something like, “Boomers—they don’t know how to use any technology and want to remain firmly planted in the past. Why won’t they accept that things have changed?” These attitudes only serve to divide your markets and don’t do anyone any favors. While edgy and provocative titles get clicks, it doesn’t serve to help anyone in the long run.
Everyone loves to think other people don’t work as hard as they do. But studies show that across generations, most people want to work hard and try to do a good job in their careers. Surprisingly, there is limited research into this topic, but most available information shows that attitudes and behaviors towards work change while the outcomes are similar.
For example, boomers place a lot of personal value on their careers and accomplishments, while millennials want to “work to live” instead of “live to work.” There may be a communicative disconnect here—boomers are willing to work overtime to be seen as productive and to obtain the material things they want to acquire, while millennials want to do their work and live their lives separately, often opting for more obscure job titles such as “influencer” or “specialist” and not tying their identities to their careers as much as boomers do. This is, of course, just a tendency, but it is important to remember that work ethic is important across generations. It’s just how people choose to work that is different!
Hopefully these tips are helpful to you. If you can think of anything you’d like to add, let us know in the comments!