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Talking about a generation

Millennial, Gen Y, Gen Z and Baby Boomers, are all terms that a few years ago would have sounded more like a low budget Hollywood film than marketing jargon, but these days it is difficult to attend any creative meeting without these phrases being bandied about.

So what does it mean? Do we actually need to alter our strategy for different generations? Or is it just marketing spiel?


On the one hand, it is important for marketeers to understand the audience to effectively target them and ensure a consistent brand message. The crux of this argument is that what’s cool to a 30 year old is never going to appeal to a 15 year old, because they are independent audiences with unique habits, preferences and shopping patterns.

According to AdWeek, there are huge differences when it comes to targeting various audiences: “You might only have a few seconds to grab a Gen-Zer’s attention, after all. While a millennial or Gen-Xer might stop for a moment to read a longer post, Gen-Zers want to get straight to the point and move along to the next feature.”

However, is it correct to target everyone in the generation category with the same brush?


Baby Boomers, those born between 1945 and 1964, are often deemed as the least tech-savvy and as such marketeers are encouraged to focus on the traditional print or TV tactics to reach this group.

But a recent research report called ‘Demystifying Brand Loyalty Among Baby Boomers’ stated: “Despite the public perception that Baby Boomers won’t change their ways, this audience is open to trying new things.”

In fact, Baby Boomers are the fastest growing adopters of digital media with 63% owning a smartphone and 53% a tablet. So, if the digital offerings are overlooked for more traditional means a captive market might be missed.

The solution might be to use the generational frameworks as a guide, but to keep in mind that the one size fits all approach might not work for the shifting population.

Perhaps in 2018 we will see the emergence of converged generation groups, such as Baby Gen Y and Gen Millennials. Or maybe new subdivisions will start to appear which will identify that, even within a generation, there are huge differences.  Either way what is becoming apparent is that talking about a generation is definitely a hot topic.


We know it can be a bit of a minefield, which is why we are here to help. So, if you fancy a chat about how we can help you reach your audience, get in touch on 0121 454 9707 or send us an email at gary.hebblethwaite@hroc.co.uk