Minding the gap is a warning that lets someone know when there is a void between where they are and where they are trying to go. There has always been a relatively large communication gap between different generations. Generational segmentation is a big part of creating a target audience for advertisers. Minding those generation gaps is crucial to creating a successful campaign.

For any advertiser crafting your target audience is the next most important thing to developing the product or service itself. When you carefully curate your target audience, selecting the correct channels to reach them helps solidify a successful campaign. Every generation finds value in different communication channels. Older generations may not have a strong presence on Instagram or Snapchat but these may be the only platforms adolescents care about. Tuning into the habits of your audience through research helps you optimize your time, money and success.

There is some discrepancy between the exact years the generations bleed into, but for the most part, the generations are as follows:
  • Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
  • Generation X (1965-1976)
  • Millennials / Generation Y (1977-1997)
  • Generation Z (1997-present)

Baby Boomer

This generation makes up one of the largest population groups of consumers so it is important to tune into this segment and target them appropriately. Baby Boomer’s hold about 70% of the nations disposable income not including any inheritance from the previous generation’s passing. This is a major segment to target and can be extremely lucrative if you are reaching them on the right channels to generate conversions. This generation has grown alongside the blossoming technology movement, and are more tech savvy than most will give them credit for. They split their time equally between television and the internet - predominantly spending time on search engines. Baby Boomers use social media, but the most effective means of reaching them on this platform is by running ads on Facebook. This generation is one of the most brand loyal, so if you are a new brand looking to insert yourself into the marketplace, the most important quality to emphasize is your credibility. You don’t necessarily have to entice these customers with discounts, a better avenue would be cash back on things. Different tactics to consider using to market to Baby Boomers include:
  • Facebook Ads
  • Traditional advertising → print, outdoor and direct mail
  • In-person sales because they value relationships
  • Search Engine Optimization as they value trustworthy placements rather than ads
  • Television

Gen X

As the smallest generation, Generation X works to bridge the gap between Millennials and Baby Boomers. This segment is a huge fan of the internet with around 80% engaging in social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Raised during the Great Recession, this generation puts a great deal of value on the dollar and discounts are extremely effective at incentivizing their purchase. Any promotions or coupons you can push will attract this customer. Along with discounts, email marketing works as one of the best ways to reach this generation, helping to develop brand loyalty and keep you top-of-mind. This generation is the perfect balance between Baby Boomers and Millennials. The best tools to market to Generation X include:
  • Email marketing
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Discount Campaigns
  • Loyalty programs

Millennials

This is probably the most controversial generation, they have high market value but cause a lot of headaches for Baby Boomers. This is the generation slowly usurping jobs in the workforce as Baby Boomers shift out and they have a lot of buying power. Technology is one of this generation’s biggest strengths, giving them an edge in the hiring process as industries become entirely digital. The best way to market to them is through a variety of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest. Focusing on the customer service you provide to these customers is vital because social media and community groups allow for quick and viral review feedback. Your online presence has never been more crucial if you are marketing to this generation. Remarketing is a great technique to use with millennials since they do the majority of their shopping online. Here are some helpful marketing techniques to reach this generation:
  • Mobile friendly web pages and social media
  • Instagram, Facebook, Youtube
  • Remarketing
  • Social influencers

Gen Z

Gen Z is the most recent generation and one, marketers are still trying to figure out. Their attention span is short and they consume content at a rate that was unheard of a few years ago. Campaign Monitor states that by 2020, Gen Z is expected to account for 40% of all customers. Even more astounding, one expert says “Generation Z is one of the most powerful consumer forces in the market today. They are engaging with brands less and less in traditional forms and even face-to-face. The following tactics are proving effective with the latest generation:
  • Video content
  • E-newsletters
  • Social Platforms
  • User generated content and collaboration

Across the board, each generation responds to different mixes and flavors of marketing efforts. Doing the research to discern what channels the generational segment you are trying to reach uses will help you succeed and get your message in front of your customer. A generation is not exclusive solely to certain channels but learning to bridge the gap between your product and where your customer is looking is important. Delivering relevant content to your customers through the right channel successfully gives them content they will enjoy and want to engage with. Take into consideration the different generation gaps and different media consumption habits and you will implement a marketing campaign that includes the right advertising channels with ease.
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