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Marketing Academy.

From Boomers to Gen Z: the definitive guide to Generational Marketing

In this important study we will understand who the people of different generations are, their challenges, their psychology and how to support them, their consumption characteristics and how to carry out exceptional generational marketing.

It will be an exciting journey and one that you will emerge with a sophisticated and commercially advanced understanding of consumers of all ages.

Let's go!

The current generations on the planet

Generations are demographic groups defined based on years of birth . Each generation shares historical events, cultural and technological trends that shape its values, attitudes and behaviors.

Let's see the generations to which the majority of humans on Earth today belong.

The Baby Boomers (or "Boomers")

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, during the post-World War II baby boom. They are an optimistic generation, focused on work and guided by values such as work ethic, loyalty to companies and respect for authority .

According to various sociological studies, Baby Boomers appreciate face-to-face communication and prefer interacting with a human advisor rather than chatbots or virtual assistants. For this generation, personal relationships at work matter a lot.

The biggest challenge Boomers face today is the aging population. Life expectancy has increased, therefore many continue to work even after retirement age, both for economic necessity and for personal fulfillment.

Why do they say "ok boomer"? It's a saying and meme used by Millennials and GenZs to poke fun at Boomers' optimistic (sometimes naive) and technology-uncomfortable attitudes. It is used in a broad sense to make fun of people who are not boomers but who indulge in typically Baby Boomer phrases or behaviors.

Generation X

Generation _

Having experienced economic crises and high unemployment rates as young adults, not to mention drug and HIV epidemics, Gen Xers are generally cautious and pragmatic in their career and life choices. They seek a balance between private life and career.

The main challenges for this generation concern the need to balance work commitments with family ones, especially in the role of "sandwich generation" caring for both children and elderly parents.

The Millennials

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, were born between 1981 and 1996. The spread of the internet and digitalisation during their youth gradually make them digital natives, at ease with technology.

Sociological studies highlight Millennials' desire to find a fulfilling job in line with their values. They appreciate flexibility and work-life balance. They are considered dealists and optimists despite the economic difficulties experienced as young people.

The main challenges for this generation concern entering the job market, complicated by financial crises and the burden of university debt. Even the search for work and financial stability to start a family is difficult.

Generation Z

It includes those born between 1997 and 2012. Gen Z has grown up in a hyper-connected world, where the internet, social media and smartphones are omnipresent. This makes them digital natives who are tech-savvy from a very young age (even if it's always packaged or simplified technology, like via an app or device).

According to sociological studies, members of Gen Z appreciate diversity , support social and environmental causes. They are considered realistic, focused on tangible goals, cautious in spending and attentive to financial security.

For Gen Z, the main challenges involve high levels of anxiety and mental stress , partly caused by hyper-connectedness and pressure to excel in various areas of life. The uncertain future of the planet and economic inequalities are also sources of concern.

Generation Alpha

It includes those born after 2013. Being very young, there are not yet many studies analyzing this generation. However, experts predict that Gen Alpha will be profoundly shaped by technology, which is an integral part of their daily lives.

They will have innate digital skills and live in a world where artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other innovative technologies will be common. Gen Alpha is expected to be creative , entrepreneurial, and mindful of social and environmental impact.

The main challenges for this generation will be related to continuous technological changes and the need to adapt to a rapidly evolving world of work and economic models. Furthermore, they will have to address urgent environmental and climate issues.

In fact, Alpha and GenZ will live in a collapsing world. A challenge never seen before for our species, in a global sense.
Alpha generation kid
We still know little about the Alphas, but we know that their World will not be ours

What are the challenges of different generations?

As we have seen, today's society sees the coexistence of different generations, each with its own characteristics and specific difficulties linked to the historical-social context experienced. We analyze in detail the critical issues faced by Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z.

Baby Boomers and the challenge of aging

Having enjoyed a comfortable life, they are now faced with aging. Typical problems of old age such as low pensions, loneliness , chronic diseases and loss of autonomy afflict many "boomers".

Furthermore, longevity pushes them to remain active in the world of work and in society well beyond retirement age, but clashes with a market that prefers a young workforce and digital skills. Managing the transition between different existential moments is therefore quite a challenge.

Generation X between work and family

For those born between 1965 and 1980, reconciling career and private life is often a source of stress. Nicknamed the "sandwich generation", they simultaneously take care of elderly parents and dependent children.

X women in particular carry the greatest burden , divided between caring for their children, parents and professional career. It's no surprise that many are looking for a better work-life balance.

It is no wonder they are so sensitive to elements of wellness, holistic, well-being and self-care.

Millennials, the misunderstood generation

Those born between 1981 and 1996 faced the difficulty of entering a precarious job market in the midst of the post-2000 and post-2008 crises , a market that does not offer the guarantees and rewards hoped for and promised by Boomer parents during the 'childhood.

Often perceived as choosy and not very resilient, Millennials also have to contend with the arduous task of buying a house and starting a family with unstable contracts.

The most educated generation in history paradoxically finds itself in economic difficulty , with low income from work and heavy university debts in countries such as the States. This fuels frustration and a feeling of inadequacy, perennially present in Millenials.

A generation crushed at the top and bottom. A generation that often decides to abandon all ambitions for human and professional development and to withdraw into its own "postcard" family.

Generation Z between anxiety and digital

The future is a source of anxiety for the very young of Gen Z, born 1997-2012. We saw it. Environmental concerns, social inequalities and geopolitical uncertainties weigh on their psyches. Furthermore, they are perpetually connected to social media and the web, with mixed effects.

While the internet offers opportunities, it also exposes people to cyberbullying, addictions, performance anxiety and other threats . Managing mental health and digital identity is an urgent challenge for these digital natives.

GenZ are the generation that has the least sex in contemporary history, the loneliest, most depressed, with the most average anxiety. When they work, they struggle to manage stress. All this in the face of, on paper, the best possible moment in terms of economic growth since 2010, amazing and ever-present technology, ease of doing almost everything, understanding parents, a simplified training system and less competition compared to previous decades.

How should society support different generations?

Each generational group must be able to live its own phase of life to the full, without difficulties becoming insurmountable obstacles. Here are some ways to provide targeted support.

  • For Baby Boomers, we need decent pensions, social spaces, digitalization programs, incentives for the transfer of skills to younger people. It is essential to promote active aging and fight ageism.

  • Family-friendly policies, flexible hours, parental leave, corporate welfare services are necessary for Gen Also psychological support to manage excessive loads.

  • For Millennials, labor market and education reforms are decisive. Incentives for self-entrepreneurship, subsidized housing policies for young people and psychological support could offer relief.

  • Finally, for Gen Z it is urgent to strengthen digital education and psychological support. Structural interventions are also fundamental to guarantee environmental sustainability and equal opportunities.

Gen-Z guy
Histrionic, inclusive, fragile. Gen-Z must first of all be supported and brought into contact with reality

Generational marketing strategies: how to reach consumers of all ages

Generational marketing is an increasingly widespread working methodology which involves the segmentation of the target by age groups , in order to develop messages and content tailored to the different generations of consumers.

In this article we note that each generational group has profoundly different specificities, interests and ways of using the media. Consequently, brands and advertisers can no longer limit themselves to shapeless and leveling campaigns , but must calibrate communication, products and customer experience based on the target audience.

We analyze in detail how to reach and involve Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z through generational marketing. However, it is too early to implement strategies for the Alphas, there are not enough studios and homes available.

Baby Boomers: focus on reliability and relationships

Having grown up in an era of economic optimism, they tend to be loyal to established brands and appreciate direct contact with the company.

To attract this mature segment, effective marketing strategies include:

  1. Messages that communicate the solidity and tradition of the brand. Boomers seek security.

  2. Testimonials over 50 to create generational empathy.

  3. Exclusive offers and discounts for senior customers and loyalty programs .

  4. Educational content and periodic newsletters.

  5. Availability of traditional channels such as toll-free number and chat with consultants.

Therefore: consistency, reliability and human relationships are central in marketing aimed at Baby Boomers.

Generation X: focus on convenience and flexibility

Generation X is very attentive to value for money and flexibility. This is because it has lived through periods of major crises and has developed a pragmatic and individualistic approach.

The winning marketing levers to engage this segment are:

  1. Emphasize savings and convenience in offers.

  2. Communicate concisely and effectively.

  3. Demonstrate how the brand facilitates the busy life of Gen

  4. Adopt an informal and ironic communication tone.

  5. Offer advantageous and tailor-made loyalty programs.

Millennials: focus on purpose and social media

Millennials are the first digital generation, always connected. They are also attentive to sustainability and the purpose of the brands.

To hire them, companies should:

  1. Embracing social and environmental causes.

  2. Share aspirational content and stories on social media.

  3. Develop campaigns on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok in parallel.

  4. Create exclusive offers and loyalty programs.

  5. Define and communicate the company mission.

Millennials look for brands that reflect their values and prefer to interact via social media.

Generation Z: focus on influencers and short videos

Gen Z has grown up in a hyper-connected world, where the internet and social media are omnipresent. To attract these digital natives, you need to:

  1. Investing in influencer marketing on Instagram and TikTok.

  2. Develop filters, lenses and other special effects for social media.

  3. Create short, engaging video content.

  4. Convey diversity & inclusion messages.

  5. Offer entertainment but also food for thought.

Gen Z must be intercepted in their favorite digital environment, focusing on engaging and creative content. With a constant eye on diversity, body positivity, inclusion.

Meeting
Generational marketing strategies are not simple, but they are increasingly necessary to segment different customers

How to build a generational customer experience

In addition to marketing and communication strategies, to engage customers of different ages it is essential to develop a personalized customer experience .

For Baby Boomers it is important:

  1. Human and available customer care.

  2. Simplified purchasing and support processes.

  3. Payments in installments and made easy.

To attract Gen

  1. Omnichannel purchases: ecommerce but also physical stores.

  2. Reviews from other customers and guarantees.

  3. Advantageous loyalty programs.

To satisfy Millennials, companies should:

  1. Invest in mobile commerce and engaging apps.

  2. Tailored offers and personalized communications.

  3. Loyalty programs with intangible rewards (experiences).

For Gen Z the following are appreciated:

  1. Shopping in augmented and virtual reality.

  2. Digital self-service and chatbot.

  3. Collect points, badges and rankings. Gamification.

Each generation has specific expectations regarding their experience with brands and products. Segmenting the audience not only in communication but throughout the purchasing and post-sales process is decisive for the success of generational marketing strategies.

The advantages of a generational strategy

Segmenting the audience by generational groups and adapting marketing strategy and messages accordingly has numerous benefits, including:

  • Greater effectiveness of communication, since contents and channels are perfectly calibrated to the target.

  • Possibility of establishing a more solid emotional bond between brands and consumers, reflecting their values and interests.

  • Greater spending efficiency, avoiding dispersion and content that is not relevant to the audience.

  • Expansion of the reachable audience, intercepting new segments.

  • Improved brand authority, demonstrating expertise in its sector.

Therefore, generational marketing, if well orchestrated, allows you to increase awareness, lead generation and sales by hitting the heart of your ideal audience. It is therefore strategic for business growth.

Mistakes to avoid

Applying generational marketing is not always easy. Among the main challenges, we must pay attention to:

  1. Avoid stereotypes . There is no need to generalize aptitudes and interests within clusters. An in-depth analysis is always needed.

  2. Prevent alienation . Overly targeted messages can exclude other segments interested in your products. This is one of the fundamentals of the sophisticated mass market.

  3. Reach critical mass . For successful campaigns, budgets adequate for the relevant media for each group are needed. Don't fit into niches, ever!

  4. Measuring results . Tracking must include consumer demographic data to evaluate leads and conversion rates in target age groups.

  5. Maintain consistency . Generational content must integrate into a distinctive brand identity and tone of voice.

Segmenting the audience by age is effective if done with data in hand, avoiding generalizations and integrating messages into a coordinated strategy. So generational marketing can really make a difference.

The Deep Marketing agency has a particular sensitivity to strategic segmentation, continuously operating in different markets and on different clients, in order to transfer know-how. If you have doubts or want some tips to start working with marketing generation, write to us now without obligation !

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