Labels and media terms-let’s break it down- part one

For a long time I have been interested in the generational studies. This started in college when I was a Political Science Major at the University of Rhode Island.  This interest and understanding has spilled into my marketing world. In marketing articles, and “buzz word bingo” we hear a lot about Baby Boomers and Millennials.  Most major brands are super focused on woo-ing Millennials- thinking that they are the “holy grail” of consumers.  There are many parody’s about the Millennials, I am including one that not only makes me chuckle but brings to light some of the attitudes this generation has on work and life. You can find many more parody’s on You Tube about all the groups.



Here is a simple break down of the major consumer groups:

Traditionalist are born between 1900-1945

Celebrity Icons: Bob Dole, Elizabeth Taylor

Key Experiences:  WWII, raised by parents of the Great Depression, radio babies

Some attributes about this group: Strong work ethic, trusts hierarchy, values loyalty

Baby Boomers are born between 1946-1964

Celebrity Icons: Bill Clinton, Meryl Streep

Key Experiences: Civil Rights, Vietnam War, Space Travel

Some Attributes about this group: Highest divorce rate and second marriage, team oriented, extremely loyal to their children

Generation X are born between 1965-1980

Celebrity Icons: Barak Obama, Jennifer Lopez

Key Experiences: Energy Crisis, first generation of latchkey kids,  end of the cold war

Some Attributes about this group: Independent, diverse, high degree of brand loyalty

Millennials are born between 1981-2000

Celebrity Icons: Ashton Kutcher, Serena Williams

Key Experiences:Digital Media, terrorist attacks, AIDS

Some Attributes about this group: First generation with schedules as children,  global community, likes personal attention

Understanding how each generation was raised and what they experienced can be very helpful when figuring out how to attract each of these groups into your business.  What will be interesting to a baby boomer could be a turn off to a millennial.  National brands spend millions of dollars on research to understand the likes and buying habits of each group. You can find many published articles and studies on this if you believe you need to fine tune your marketing to a particular group. And I will share more on each group in future postings.

How can you use this today for your business? First ask yourself-What does my average customer look like? Who am I trying to attract?  What group do they best fall into-then, do some additional research on that generation.  Does your message appeal to them?

Here is an example: If your business is trying to attract Millennials, in your marketing message emphasize your social and digital strengths or how you make them feel special. If your business is looking to attract Baby Boomers, perhaps themes of the American Dream, would be effective. Every product, business and campaign is unique; take  the time to work with a marketing professional to help you fine tune your branding and messaging and see better results.

In future postings I will share more examples and details on reaching each of these unique generations. I hope this was a helpful peek into the generational philosophy to your marketing. Thank you for reading, viewing and sharing this information.

Author: alisonsawhill

Marketing and Advertising Manager, 20+ years of success, working with clients on a local, regional and national level. Experienced in strategy, development and execution of clients marketing plans using all media tools, including Radio, Internet, Social Media, Events and Promotions.

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