Introduction to Generational Marketing

29 Aug 2019 | vividreal

Imagine you’re creating an ad for a trendy pair of shorts. The USP of these shorts is that they are extremely comfortable, durable, and are available in a ton of different colours and designs. If you put out a generic ad, these ads will be displayed to a wide variety of people from different age groups, including people in their 50s and above who don’t usually wear vibrant and colourful shorts. A lot of your ad budget will be wasted like this. Even if you choose to target people from a specific age group, you still need to fashion your content and make sure these ads are attractive to your target audience.

The most interesting part of any marketing campaign is planning your campaign strategy. Strategies can make or break a campaign. There is no unified strategy available that works for everyone. Depending on many factors, sometimes you need to change it up, plan and test different campaigns and find out what works best for you. One of these factors, and a very important one at that, is the age of your prospective customers. This marketing technique even has its own name: Generational marketing.

Generational marketing, generally speaking, is about all the different marketing techniques that you use on consumers according to their ages. People of different ages will have different interests and will respond differently to different types of content. Preferences in social media networks also change in different age groups. This makes it a little tricky when you are trying to market people from a specific age group. When you are planning a marketing campaign, you have to select which age groups of people you want your ads to be visible to. Each group needs a slightly different strategy. The difference could be in the type of content you use, the different social media networks you want your campaign on, and even something small like the style of language you use. Each age group prefers different styles and sources of content.

Generational marketing works best when you know the lives and interests of your consumers. In this article, we will be focusing on the consumers in India and hence I think 4 broad age groups are enough. Let’s call them: 

  • Traditionalists (60+ years old)
  • Generation X (36-59 years old)
  • Generation Y or Millennials (20-35 years old)
  • Generation Z (Less than 20 years old)

Let us expand a bit and delve into the mindsets of each group and discuss the difference in marketing strategies for each one of them. 

Traditionalists

These are the oldest people we will talk about in this article. Even though almost everyone is connected to the internet, these are the kind of people who are less likely to spend money online. The number of Internet users from this age group is low compared to the other groups, with an estimated 40-60 per cent people being active on social media. Their presence on social networks such as Snapchat and Instagram are almost non-existential. But all of this might change soon. As access to smartphones and cheap internet services grow easier, more traditionalists are expected to start using social media in the coming years. In fact, Facebook users aged 65 and over has doubled to 41% since 2012. 

Generation X

Also called baby boomers in the USA, these are people who have been working professionals for some time. Compared to the traditionalists, they are more likely to spend money online and invest money in activities that interest them. Most of the people in this group are married and probably have families of their own, which means they are the people you should target if your products/services are made for children who are not old enough to be consumers yet.

People in this age group are health conscious. They read a lot of magazines, newspapers, and blogs/articles. These people also use YouTube a lot, for tutorials, guides, product reviews, etc. They think highly of testimonials and often check websites for reviews of products/services they are interested in.

Generation Y or Millennials

Millennials make up roughly 27 per cent of the world’s population and in India, they make up 34% of the population. People in this age group are mostly either students or people who have been working for a few years. Almost everyone in this age group is highly active on social media. Their favourite content can range from videos, blogs and articles. 

These people tend to multitask regularly, and so content targeted at them should be attention-grabbing. They are easily enticed by discount codes, offers, and coupons. They also do not like waiting, so information must be quickly accessible and easy to understand. Majority of these consumers use mobile devices more than desktops and laptops. 

The consumers from this particular age group are highly interested in emotional content. A backstory that moves them will create a bigger impact than the average content. This could be anything from real-life perspectives to stories. A lot of people check out websites like YouTube for self-help/beneficial content, recipes, tutorials, DIY crafts, etc.

Millennials are the chief wage earners in India with a 47 per cent share in the working-age population. They account for nearly half the working-age population in India. Most of their income is spent on entertainment and on food, clothing, and electronics. Millennials are more likely to spend than save. They also tend to research a product/service extensively before spending money. Their shopping decisions are based on availability and convenience. Most of them are impatient. So take extra time to make your websites easy to navigate and your web pages simple and user-friendly.

Generation Z

These are people below the age of 20. They have a completely different set of tastes and preferences compared to the other age groups. Most of the people in this age group are not financially independent. The final decisions will be influenced by their parents/caretakers. However, they are highly active on social media. 

Generation Z of India is extremely interested in technology. They are also aware of environmental and social problems and hence will be interested in brands that appear wholesome. They are extremely good at using the Internet, making them good researchers. They are also aware that most of the things taught in school (and more) can be easily learnt online. They cannot be lured with “sales talk” and click-baits. They prefer content that is highly personalized. This may include content having popular phrases and slangs. 

Instagram is the best platform to showcase your brand to Generation Z. One of the best ways to market a product or service to them is through social media influencers. They have been found to trust micro-influencers more than any celebrity. These influencers often conduct “giveaways” and other similar competitions on their social media profiles. This is a marketing strategy that works really well with Generation Z. You can read more about using influencers for marketing here.

Next time you’re planning an ad campaign, keep the ages of your potential consumers in mind. Personalize content and use mediums they frequently use. These things will surely impact the success of your digital marketing campaigns

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