We’ve all seen advertisements on different media platforms and thought, “Wow, it’s like they know me.” The ads that entice me are likely not the same ads that target my parents. Why is that? Well, we have different interests, we were born in different generations, and consume media in different ways. Generational marketing is one form of audience segmentation that will help you to effectively captivate your audience in the right way.  

What exactly is Generational Marketing? 

Generational marketing is the practice of segmenting your audience and messaging based primarily on their age groups or generational cohort. You tailor your marketing messages and channel strategy to most effectively resonate with each group. 

The widely recognized generational cohorts are: 

  • Baby Boomers (born 1955-1964) 
  • Gen X (born 1965-1980) 
  • Millennials (born 1981-1996) 
  • Gen Z (born 1997-2012) 

Each generation consumes media differently and has different mindsets, daily activities, and life experiences. These are all taken into consideration in the development of targeted marketing strategies like generational marketing. 

Why is Generational Marketing important? 

It’s important to know your audience because the tone and placement of your message will determine the success of your campaign. Using the correct tactic and message for each audience will help to increase your brand’s impact and encourage consideration of your product or service. 

Recognizing your target audience’s media habits, considering their background, creating a practical communication plan, and aligning your marketing strategy with the information you know about them will make for the most effective marketing campaign.  

For example, becoming aware of and leveraging your target audience’s media habits means that you may not use newspaper ads to effectively reach the 18-25-year-old Gen Zers in your target audience. Similarly, the best way to market to the boomer generation may not be TikTok. Media dollars are better spent on the channel(s) most used by your target audience. 

Using personas to better define your target audience 

Once you’ve identified the different segments of your audience, you can further analyze your customers by creating personas. Personas are a general (usually visual) representation of your target audience and are used as a tool to understand them at a deeper level. Personas are usually crafted using a combination of audience research tools and first-party data sourced from conversations with your actual audience segments. This customer-centric approach is a helpful tool in developing strategy by uncovering the buyer process and mindset.  

To craft your personas, you’ll start by gathering important information from your audience: 

  • Details about lifestyle, including age, family, and interests 
  • Technology usage and type  
  • What motivates them for product acquisition  
  • What their decision challenges and/or concerns are 
  • Goals and expectations 

We now understand why it’s essential that my parents and I receive different types of marketing messages across different platforms. As a company, taking the time to understand your audiences is time well spent to ensure your efforts are effective.