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Monday, November 21, 2011

Targeting: Don't Forget Generational Impacts

Photo from Sheelamohan
As we know, the key to successful marketing is understanding how we can help achieve a firms business objective.  As marketers, we must identify who we are marketing to and what channels/messages resonates with them.  Part of this analysis takes into consideration how generational differences impact our marketing efforts.

Each generation has their own characteristics and understanding these can be of value in our execution of marketing tactics that lead to an increase in successful outcomes.  Generational marketing involves identifying and understanding how the beliefs, attitudes, emotions, needs, and interests of each generation influence their decisions and behavior. And effective implementation of generational marketing practices is key for targeting member segments of all ages.
  • Traditionalists/Silent Generation (born before 1946) survived the Great Depression, WW2, Korea, Gandhi’s assassination and the rise of labor unions.  They are loyal, desire to leave a legacy, value personal relationships, follow rules and have faith in institutions.  Values of company are important.
  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are just beginning to move out of midlife and into the early stages of elderhood. The broad generational personality that Boomers experience orients toward vision, values and spiritual discovery.  They are hard working, competitive and desire to put their own stamp on institutions (are free thinkers).  Image is important and they also put weight in value (not price sensitivity).
  • GenXers (born between 1965 and 1981) are just beginning to move out of young adulthood and into midlife. The broad generational personality that GenXers experience orients toward liberty, survival and honor. They are resourceful, highly adaptive, self-reliant, skeptical of institutions and independent.
  • GenY/Millenials (born between 1982 and 2000) are just beginning to arrive as young adults in the American landscape. The broad generational personality that Millennials experience orients toward community, affluence and technology. They are globally concerned and aware, cyber-literate, collaborative/group oriented, and vocal.
  • Homeland Gen (born after 2000) are just arriving as a new generation. They share the same broad traits with the elders, currently 67-84 years old. This generational personality orients toward pluralism, expertise and due process.  They are tech-native, media-smart, artistically inclined, integrated and pan-cultural.
In order to market effectively to a generation you must find a way to grab their attention in channels that they use and with key messages that hit their core values.  Generational determined lifestyles and social values exercise as much influence on buying and purchasing as more commonly understood demographic factors like income, education, and gender do--perhaps even more.
Marketers that take generational impacts into consideration are more successful in their channel marketing efforts and contributing to more bottom line results.

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