Generational Marketing

Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator

Today’s prosperity is probably the greatest legacy of the previous generation, however, every generation also has its drawbacks. Generational misunderstandings and culture clashes have always existed because it’s a part of the human condition. Younger generations, to some degree, always challenged the existing culture and embraced creating new change. While older ones seemed to resist the change and want to keep “the good old days” going. The generational frustrations we’re experiencing today seem to be primarily between Baby Boomers and Millennials, with Gen Z joining their side. Where can we see these frustrations? The first place to look is online and humor is one way they have expressed their opposition and frustrations with the older generation. The term, “OK, Boomer” was created by Gen Z’ers and became a viral meme last year and was also featured in a recent Superbowl commercial. So it’s obvious it’s gotten enough notability to go global, but what does it even mean? Although it is most definitely perceived as ageist, the term is meant to shed light on a deeper issue. Millennials are seen to have a more morbid sense of humor with death jokes including the viral Tide Pod memes, and more recently, a new meme emerged: “boomer remover.” This meme supposedly refers to the grim fact that 80% of Coronavirus-related deaths are over 65. Clearly this isn’t funny, and there is even a sense of anger behind it. This just has Boomers shaking their heads with the perennial response, “kids these days.” So, can you guess the frustration? The video below called “A Millennial Job Interview” is a stereotypical depiction of the attitude of the average Millennial entering the workforce. This mock interview is not just cringe-worthy, but also sheds light on just how horrible of a rep Millennials have been given. 

Generational marketing is a form of segmented marketing communication based on age groups. Every generation has its misunderstandings. However, the big picture here is the importance of understanding how different age groups are experiencing the world socially, economically, politically and emotionally. In regards to morbid memes, it’s important to take note of why younger generations are making them. By analyzing their behavior, you can better understand their lifestyle and provide a solution. You can also understand their personalities and get to know what works with them whether it’s informal humor or a fancy email. It’s clear that the younger generation just wants to be heard and taken seriously, every new generation does, but now it’s easier than ever to be noticed. If social media existed in the 60’s, who knows how different today would be. Younger generations not only have different cultural values such as flexibility and empathy, but they also feel judged and overlooked for their behavior and age. Millennials often get painted as pampered tech-addicts with a naive worldview, whose priorities extend only to getting time off and being allowed to work from home, as seen in the video above. Baby Boomers have been noticed to criticize these younger generations for their values and behavior labeling them lazy and sensitive. This older generation, considered the “do it yourself” generation, found financial stability independence a lot easier when they were the younger generation. They lived in a world of more certainty, had one 9-5 desk job, no student loans, and bought their first house at 22. However, Boomers often get labeled as conservative, self-centered workaholics who hate all things tech. Times have changed and now younger generations are feeling enormous pressure to fix the mess they feel was left for them to solve. From economic recessions and pandemics to social injustice and terrorism attacks, it’s no wonder these generations are feeling stressed. This just being one example, shows how generations can find friction and misunderstanding due to the different norms they’re used to. As a business owner, it’s vital to understand these values and norms, so you can create a more meaningful relationship with your customers and deliver value to all. Also, stay away from age stereotypes, or any for that matter! It will only make your brand look bad. 

In order to be successful at generational marketing, you need to customize their experience and understand the behavior of each generation, as well as what’s going on in the world. A lot has changed, and the rate of speed is only increasing. As each generation has its own unique features and differences, they also have their similarities. Don’t forget, we’re all human, and those who are old now were once kids, too. Times change, but feelings don’t. Although our generational attitudes and values might be different, they are all influenced by the current time in which we live. It’s just a matter of finding effective ways to engage each generation and utilizing technology to improve communication. Acknowledge their differences while leveraging their similarities in terms of how they consume information and how they relate to brands. With the growth of multigenerational households due to economic strain, brands have the opportunity to strengthen customer relationships and drive sales by offering multiple services and solutions. Staying relevant and contextual is key for marketing to each generation. Gather insightful data and determine if age is even a relevant factor. Age shouldn’t be the only factor and is usually combined with other demographics and data. The numbers could be surprising. In fact, Boomers are comfortable online and studies show that 85% of them research products before a purchase. Older generations living in multigenerational households are even known to be more tech-savvy and involved in social media than their average peers. Boomers didn’t grow up with the internet, but it’s a common misconception that they can’t be tech-savvy. Falling into this assumption will only hurt your brand image. 

Generational differences impact marketing. What works best is finding the commonalities and that’s through emotion. There are many ways you can channel one’s emotions, but regardless of the generation they belong to, people want brands to deliver value and make their lives easier. Everyone also wants to feel valued and is drawn to hyper-personalization. Consumers also want brands to speak to their challenges and aspirations with authenticity, without being overly enthusiastic. Always stay true to your brand identity, however, showing that your brand understands its audience is critical. Trying to advertise equally across all social media platforms will never give you a positive return on your investment. Generations consume content and respond to marketing tactics differently on each platform. Thanks to technology, we can address the big problems our society faces today, including the economic policies and conditions that make so many people, regardless of age, feel financially insecure. Brands can be a huge part of the change and help mend the gaps between generations. The best way to do that is by letting them know you’re listening. 

At MSM DesignZ, we will give your brand a voice. Having a digital presence should not be an option. We value the importance of utilizing data to drive strategic decision making. With over twenty years in the industry, our team has both the experience and fresh mind you need to get the ball rolling. We will always continue to place our clients’ needs at the heart of our operations. From web development to social media management, we’ll work directly with you to build a personalized strategy to not only retain but also gain business. We are assisting in all areas for our clients. Visit our contact page at, and we’ll work with you to devise a custom plan that will keep your brand alive and well. We look forward to working with you!