Digital Advertising Industry News


Generational Differences in Marketing: What to Know

May 9, 2018 Courtney Walsh

It’s no secret that different generations have varying values. From newspapers to smartphone apps, different age groups have their favorite sources for indulging in media. To be successful, marketers need to align their methods with consumers’ preferences.

Learn about the breakdown of generations to craft the best marketing strategy for your audience.

Generational Values

In order to successfully market to your audience, you’ll need to know the differences between generations. What do different age groups value?

  • Baby Boomers — Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1960. They pride themselves on their loyalty, work ethic, respect and intellect. Billy Joel is a great example of a Baby Boomer. His unrelenting work ethic has propelled his career, pushing his discography to 13 albums. He is the winner of 5 Grammy Awards.
  • Generation X — Generation Xers were born between 1961 and 1980. Their values lie in work-life balance, technology use, intellect, ethics and respect. They’re typically conservative and traditional. Former First Lady Michelle Obama focused the majority of her life on growing her intellect, earning degrees from both Princeton and Harvard Law universities. “I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world,” she said during a TED Talks speech in the U.K where she stressed the importance on education.
  • Millennials — Millennials were born between 1981 and 2000. They’re concerned with innovation and change, technology use, pop culture, tolerance, intellect and clothing. Though he’s been under recent fire, Mark Zuckerberg completely reinvented the way individuals use technology to interact. With the invention of Facebook, people were instantly connected, no matter where they were.

Marketing to Baby Boomers 

Baby Boomers are loyal to their brands and are likely to buy bulk of their favorite products. It’s in a brand’s best interest to capitalize on this brand loyalty, and prove their products are well-made and serve their purpose. If a brand can lock in a Baby Boomer, they’ve made sales for a lifetime.

Baby Boomers are fans of face-to-face communication. They’d rather talk to a sales representative over the phone than chat with one online. Marketing to Baby Boomers leans toward the traditional side of digital marketing, even display ads are received by Baby Boomers like billboards.

Marketing to Generation X

Generation X has bills to pay, so these individuals love to save where they can. Promoting your brand’s sales and coupons is a shoo-in with Generation X. The best product at the best price is their kryptonite.

To market to Generation X, you’ll also want to promote your brand’s good reputation. Whether your product is organic or ethically produced, or your company participates in charitable giving, make sure Gen X knows and they’ll be more likely to embrace your brand and purchase your products.

Marketing to Millennials 

Millennials grew up with the progression of technology, so they’re excited by innovation, especially when compared to other generations. They’re interested in what’s newest and most efficient, and often what provides a solution to common issues, so it’s important to experiment with popular trends when marketing to Millennials.

Because Millennials haven’t known life without technology, they adore social media like none of the generations before them. Make sure your business has location tags for Instagram and branded filters for Snapchat for an easy in with Millennials. They turn to social media for the newest restaurants, retail shops and other businesses, so it’s beneficial to be present on the platforms they use.

What to Do if You Want to Connect with Multiple Generations

So what’s the best approach when your audience is full of Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials? Try these:

  • Customer First Marketing — Most consumers find that products speak to them when the brand prioritizes the audience’s needs and wants over business goals. Be sure your consumers’ preferences are being met and are more important than a sales goal because your audience should be a priority.
  • Multi-Channel Campaign — Expand your marketing strategy to incorporate as multiple channels. But remember, not every consumer will follow in their generation’s preferences, so experiment to let your consumers interact with your brand on their favorite platforms. Track your results to see what works best.
  • One-to-One Messaging — Email and texting allow your brand to personally send direct messages to consumers. You can engage all consumers with these messaging methods, but be sure to adjust the content of the messages to fit the age range of each consumer. Because Baby Boomers won’t see what you send Millennials and vise versa, one-to-one messaging is a great way to reach multiple generations at once.


Targeting niche audiences? Let DMS help. Contact us today! 



About the Author

Courtney Walsh

Courtney Walsh is a Senior Account Executive at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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