Generational marketing—who needs it?
Why, you do, of course!
Generational marketing is defined as “the approach to product development, CRM, communication, and marketing that recognizes generation as archetypes.”
It can be challenging to craft worthwhile marketing strategies and campaigns that speak to every generation, so (for the record), we are not recommending that approach.
However, should you decide to take a more direct approach when marketing to a specific generation, be sure to take into account these five things you should know about Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.
P.S. We’ll be covering generational marketing tips for Millenials and Gen Z in next week’s blog post—stay tuned!
5 things you should know about marketing to Baby Boomers
To start, we’re identifying Baby Boomers as the generation who was born between 1946 and 1964. They grew up in the post-WWII era, and while they were not born knowing how to use modern-day technology, they’re embracing its existence and importance in today’s world.
For more info on historical events that defined the Baby Boomers, check out this wildly informative article.
When it comes to marketing to Baby Boomers, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
- Make things accessible
This is a great rule of accessibility for people of all ages, but especially those who use reading glasses 😉 When it comes to digital marketing, make sure the asset can be easily viewed, used, and understood by your audience. Nowadays, many Boomers wear glasses and have trouble with text that’s too small. With that in mind, it’s important to consider:
- Font Size
Make your text legible! General guidelines recommend not using fonts smaller than 16 pt to ensure readability. When it comes to CTAs, it’s always good to make those suckers much bigger than the body text.
- Button Size
It’s important to use proper button sizes, especially for mobile devices! Buttons on your website and in emails should be at least 44 pixels to accommodate a variety of finger sizes and widths on mobile devices.
- They have purchasing power
Your Baby Boomer audience (in general) has larger spending power than Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Zs. Boomers are staying in the workforce longer, they typically have a good chunk of savings, and (shockingly!) Boomers make up the only population group experiencing growth in the workforce.
In general, Baby Boomers have more disposable income and purchasing power, so don’t be afraid to market heavily toward this generation. They’re most likely to buy (and buy a lot), so be sure to push hard and often.
- Do NOT say “old” or “senior”
This should be a given, but you’d be amazed how tactless brands and companies can be. In American culture, “old” and “senior” can be viewed as derogatory terms, so it’s best to eliminate their usage from your brand’s vocabulary.
Besides, while Baby Boomers may be in their mid-sixties, they’re still out there living their lives and having fun—they’re not the type to settle down and give up on their dreams.
They still have plenty of time to get out there and achieve life-long goals—be sure to consider that when formulating your marketing strategy and efforts.
- They’re not afraid to read!
Save your descriptive, informative copy for the Baby Boomers. While younger generations prefer visual marketing efforts (i.e. gifs, video, memes, etc.), Boomers still enjoy reading to gather information.
Remember, Boomers kept the physical newspaper subscriptions running long past their expiration date, so don’t be afraid to market your brand and product via the written word.
In general, Baby Boomers are more likely to take the time (and appreciate) a company’s ability to market and inform with smart, thoughtful copy.
- Don’t ignore social media
If you haven’t already gathered, Boomers are hip to current trends, and that includes social media!
If you have your finger on the pulse of social media platforms, you might be able to guess that Facebook is the most beloved platform for Baby Boomers. Use this to your advantage when marketing to this particular generation!
While they primarily use this platform to keep in touch with friends and family, they do respond quite well to both organic and paid Facebook content. If you want to make an impression for your next paid Facebook ad, consider using advanced targeting to identify Boomer prospects.
For more B2B social media marketing tips, check out our recent blog post!
5 Things you Should Know about Marketing to Gen X:
For this piece, we’ve defined Generation X as those born between 1965-1979. A few characteristics of this generation include being ecologically minded, anti-consumerist (take note!), rebellious, entrepreneurial, and multi-career-minded. Hilariously, WordStream refers to Gen X as “the neglected middle child” of recent generations. They are the smallest generation, as well!
During their youth, Gen X dealt with the implications of Watergate, the introduction of personal computers, the AIDs crisis, and grunge music.
For more information on the historical events that shaped this generation, check this out!
To market to this specific generation, consider the following points:
- Don’t beat around the bush
How do we say this? Gen X has an astounding BS-meter.
What with having lived through political scandal after political scandal, Gen X is a skeptical generation who considers too much marketing “fluff” to be a red flag.
When it comes to marketing for Gen X, get right to the point. Make sure that CTA is the first thing they see and be open and honest with your intentions. This generation is much more likely to listen and buy when they feel a company’s being transparent and upfront about its offerings.
Repeat after us: authenticity, authenticity, (and even more) authenticity.
- Use video!
Gen Xers love video. Need proof? As of 2017, they were watching upwards of 32 hours of television a week—that’s a lot of TV!
This generation is entranced by video content and they respond remarkably well to visual mediums. In fact, digital video is even more popular among Gen X than social networking—with 78.7% “downloading or streaming video online at least once per month.”
When in doubt, consider video content when creating a marketing campaign geared toward Gen X.
- Don’t be afraid to talk tech
Gen X is super tech-savvy and many are currently parents to Millenials and Gen Zers, meaning they are quite attuned to current tech trends. They’re avid smartphone, tablet, and app users, so don’t “dumb down” your tech-speak when it comes to marketing efforts.
Not only are they able to understand, but they’re interested!
This generation loves staying up-to-date and, as mentioned, they have built-in tech geniuses at their disposal (Millenial and Gen Z kids, obviously), should they have any questions.
- Appeal to both sexes
Unlike the Baby Boomer generation, men AND women are considered the primary breadwinners in a Gen X household. According to a survey from 2011 (surely numbers have increased since then), “nearly one-fifth of Generation X men earn less than their wives, compared to 14% of boomer men.”
What does this mean?
Gen X women are making more purchasing decisions compared to female Baby Boomers.
Advertising touchpoints that appeal to both male and female prospects will be beneficial when marketing to Gen X, so don’t “gender” your advertisements/products too much if your ideal customers belong to Generation X.
- Highlight sustainability
Gen Xers are keenly aware of social and environmental issues and they aren’t afraid to show it. Better yet, they’re careful to put their money where their mouth is.
When crafting your marketing message, if possible, be sure to showcase your efforts toward sustainability and charitable giving.
Gen X buyers want to know that their purchase(s) do more good than harm in the long run, so be sure to capitalize on that message whenever possible (only if it’s genuine, of course).
Generational marketing—who knew it could be so interesting and informative!
Now, if you’ve come to the end of this post and realized you’re unsure about your target audience, never fear. Whether you’re trying to entice Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, or Gen Z, our free Customer Journey Worksheets are sure to help you craft and define detailed initiatives for your target audience. These worksheets also include Persona worksheets—a must-have for any effective marketing strategy.
Be sure to be on the lookout for next week’s blog post on Generational Marketing: Millennials & Gen Z, and until then…
Digital Marketing Specialist