There are many articles discussing differences of generations. I guess most of us would not argue with the fact that generations are different.  However, what I do not understand is why the majority of businesses do not recognise the importance of generation marketing. Instead, they often use a blanket approach to their marketing strategies.


Generation Marketing


Generations Defined

Below is the breakdown of generations that we will look at today:

  • Traditionalists are people who were born 1900-1945 (can also be called Veterans, Silent, Moral Authority, Radio Babies, The Forgotten Generation)
  • Baby Boomers: born between 1946-1964, can also be called “Me” Generation, Moral Authority
  • Generation X: born between1965-1980, also referred to as Gen X, Xers, The Doer, Post Boomers, 13th Generation
  • Millennial generation: born between 1981-2000, also called Generation Y,  Generation Next, Echo Boomers,  24/7’s


Why Generation Marketing?

Naturally, interactions with technology, attitudes toward social media, or online buying behaviours vary greatly between different generations.If you want to succeed as a business, you need to know your audience. It means understanding your clients’ needs and fulfilling their expectations. It requires great data segmentation and targeted generation marketing.

In other words, your marketing plans should change in accordance to whom you are targeting. For example, Generation X advertising strategies should not be the same as Baby Boomers marketing. Nowadays, good marketing lives and breaths personalisation. Moreover, you cannot provide personal experience if you don’t plan out their differences and similarities, preferences, likes and even dislikes.

Tips for Successful Generation Marketing

You will probably find many articles and blog posts about how to market to different generations. I have found a recent study by Campaigner – they have surveyed online shoppers and came back with some interesting data. I will review some of the insight here – we will look for differences in social media, email marketing, buying habits and much more.


Email Marketing is Still Loved

44% of consumers that Campaigner surveyed prefer to interact with brands over email. Well, here’s one stat for all those saying email marketing is dead. Clearly, it is not  – it is very much alive and kicking. For businesses, it means that email marketing has to be in their marketing mix if they want to build successful and lasting relationships with their clients and leads.

Millenials like emails – the survey found that 22% of the respondents are very likely to open the emails. And that is more than the older generations. However, remember, it’s not about the quantity anymore! Quality is key.

Unfortunately, almost half of the respondents indicated that their biggest complaint about email marketing is the volume. So it is true – we all get promotions from brands we like and follow. However, we also get swamped with emails from how-did-you-get-my-email companies.  We sigh, thinking someone sold my email address or have I ticked or forgot to untick a box in some kind of form…?


unread emails


I have to admit; I do not even have time not only to go through all the emails but also to delete them, so they sit there and collect dust. A few months ago, I had more than 6000 unread emails in my personal inbox.  Now the number is almost 8000. How can it happen that in a short few months I have left about 2000 new messages unopened?  Moreover, I do check my email often throughout the day. I guess my spring cleaning will be busy.

Take away:  Generation Marketing and Email Frequency

Watch your email deployment frequency. No matter the generation, too many is too many. Test and find your best sending volumes, times, and days of the week. As Millenials are more likely to open their emails than other generations, you can differentiate your frequency strategies accordingly.


 Social Media

Maybe earlier social media used to be an optional marketing strategy, as social platforms were regarded as places where youngsters can have fun and socialise. However, times have changed.

Social media now provides an amazing lead generation opportunity as well as a great, cost-effective [and sometimes even free] reach to existing customers. Social media plays a vital part in building your brand recognition and even building your website or blog traffic.

Campaigner research found that 24% of consumers prefer to interact with brands on social media. To some businesses, this number might be a smaller than expected. However, to those who are yet to find the benefits of social media to their business, it proves that it has become a strong channel between brands and customers.

From all the social platforms, 54% preferred Facebook. Pinterest and Instagram were in second place with 18%, followed by LinkedIn (9%),  Snapchat (5%), and Twitter (3%).

Take away:  Generation Marketing and Social Media

If you were avoiding utilising social media for your business thinking that you do not have the audience, it is high time to start. Segment your audience, and make use of generation marketing. Test out the platforms – not all may be relevant to your business. You might find that, for example, Millenials will respond to your Pinterest or Instagram campaigns, and Generation X will engage more with Facebook.


couch commerce


Couch Commerce

I will introduce another term here – couch commerce. To put it plainly, it is buying products or services online from the comfort of your home. Campaigner study has found that half of the respondents like to do their shopping at their desk and a strong 34% do not mind buying from their couch, and 10% while already in their beds.

They also found that 80% of Traditional Generation respondents prefer shopping while at their desk. Desk shopping would mean more traditional browsing devices – such as computers and laptops. Also probably more research and comparing, but most likely more time spent reading about your products or services, and biggers screens.

47% of Millenials prefer shopping from the couch. What can this mean for your generational marketing strategies? Well, couch could mean shorter attention span – most likely other devices being on at the same time, such as TV playing in the background. It can also represent mobile browsing devices, such as tablets and phones. Thus adjusting your content accordingly is necessary – whether it is an email or your landing page.

Take away:  Generation Marketing and Couch Commerce

Couch commerce is gaining popularity, as multitasking is becoming natural for us. We have multiple devices plugged in and most of us are always online. We can listen to the news and check our emails at the same time. What does this mean for your marketing? Knowing and understanding your audience is essential. Who are your key customers? Are they Millenials, preferring couch shopping and mobile devices? Build longer lasting relationships, offer great user journey, and fulfill their expectations. Make it easy for them to shop, to read your blog or your ebook, to leave a review – whatever your call-to-action is.  If you are lacking this data, test and analyse, and you will get there!

Morning or Night?

We all have different times that we dedicate to online browsing. Some might prefer to buy things online before we start our day. Others might find some spare time late in the evenings.  If you identify and analyse these patterns, you can help your business become even more successful.

Campaigner study has revealed two distinct generational patterns when talking about online shopping:

  • Morning Larks: Traditionalists and Baby Boomers are more likely to shop in the morning
  • Night Owls: Generation X and Millennials are more likely to shop at night

Take away:  Generation Marketing and Time of Day

We have looked at generational patterns concerning the time of day for the online shopping – and this is information can give you a great boost in your marketing results, and hopefully increase your ROI.  How can this help? Well, Campaigner found which generation prefers night shopping versus morning shopping. If you are planning a marketing or sales campaign launch why not select a time that is best suitable for your customers? If you are sending a sales email out, test out the times convenient to your subscribers. Apply this type of generational marketing segmentation when targeting your audience and planning your marketing campaigns.


Know Your Audience

We have looked at various preferences that different generations have. Use these findings and make sure you test your strategies out. Build up your data and knowledge. The better you know your customers, leads, or followers; the more personal your relationship is going to get. You will get more engagement, and, hopefully, better profitability. You can apply generational marketing segmentation to any business – whether you run an e-commerce shop or maintain a blog. Feel free to subscribe to our emails for even more great tips!

You might also like to learn more about email marketing in Maintaining a Quality Mailing List: Sunsetting blog post.


Codemefy Author: Adele Baltuoniene, June 2017