Know your target market - what makes the generations tick?

Your target market effectively falls into four generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. Marketing to these different generations varies significantly and focusing on each group and targeting your efforts specifically to them can greatly improve your marketing efforts.

This article is a quick 101 on each of the four generations and what makes them tick. It also has some handy tips on how to target your effort to each generation.

Baby boomers

Born between 1946-1960s, baby boomers are a massive target market worldwide. They heavily influence the economy and are hugely targeted when it comes to marketing. They create a massive demand for goods and services and are amongst the most wealthy, active and physically fit individuals!

Although technology has changed a lot and they were adults when the Internet arrived, most have kept up with the constant changes in technology. They are huge TV fanatics and are active online. This opens up a number of opportunities when it comes to marketing.

There are three main channels you want to focus on when marketing to baby boomers:

  1. Television

  2. Search engines and social media

  3. Emails

But, it’s not just about where, but more importantly, what you engage the baby boomers with. You want your content to be interesting, engaging, relevant and timely for this audience. And, because its such a large generation, you will need to segment this market as much as possible. This means breaking it down into smaller groups and being as specific as possible with your marketing efforts.

Generation X

Generation Xers are born between the 1960s and 1980s meaning they are between 50-30. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘sandwich generation’ because they’re in the middle of taking care of their ageing parents (the baby boomers) and raising children of their own.

This generation is cynical and yet the most easily swayed generation. They have adjusted well to video games and social media becoming a part of everyday life. They are known to be the hardest working generation given the hardships they faced early on.

Generation X can be broken down into two specific segments. The older side of this generation have values and characteristics that hold true to the baby boomer generation and then there is the other end of the spectrum which aligns more closely with millennials. Authenticity is key with this generation. Be honest, upfront and offer safety and security to the groups within this generation.

This generation is technology and Internet savy but still enjoys shopping on foot. This means that both paper and online mail can work for Generation X. Adjust your approach based on where they lie within this generation age breakdown. They also value video content so using that as a marketing tactic would be smart for this generation.

You can use this video on social media. Generation Xers have social media for different reasons, sometimes it’s to monitor the activity of their children. Maybe it’s to remain competitive in the business world by maintaining a strong online presence or perhaps they just enjoy using it. Whatever the reason, the majority of Generation X is on social media now. Focus your energy on Facebook. Remember to be as authentic as possible and represent your true self to have the best shot at gaining marketing success with Generation X.


Millennials are something else entirely. They are extremely unique as a generation. Born in the 1980s and 1990s, they see through a lot of what they see online and really crave a unique approach. They are considered the most difficult generation to market to as they have had the internet since birth and are extremely tech-savvy and smart when it comes to changes in technology. They’ve seen it all online, so to grab their attention you really need to stand out.

This generation is reaching the point of having children. They are also one of the largest generations currently making purchases and looking online for services and products and will be influencing their kids to do the same. Don’t forget Millennials, they are extremely important now and going forward.

You'll need to create quality content that Millennials will consider worthy of engaging with. Make sure you’re up to date with your website and social media to be sure that you are where your target audience is looking. You need to be quick to get their attention so be smart in what you are creating to reach them!

This generation is very focused on the opinions of others before they make a decision and using influencers on social media, specifically influencers are a great marketing channel to gain the trust of this generation. This generation are a bunch of ‘go-getters’ and they’re used to seeing ads and sales all day. Stand out from your competition, gain trust through influencer marketing and create content that is engaging and grabs their attention to have success with Millennials.

Generation Z

The newest generation on the block, Generation Z includes everyone from 1996 to now. They’re hard to predict as their characteristics are still being developed.

The explosion of the smart phone is what separates Millennials from Generation Z. Generations continue to become more diverse, unique and tech-savvy and so, for now, we can assume that Generation Z will be no exception to this trend.

This generation is just as social media obsessed as Millennials BUT they aren’t really worried about Facebook, they’re more interested in Snapchat and Instagram. So, focus your energy on those social media sites with your posts and ads. Try and remain as unique as you can to reach out to this audience. If they are anything like Millennials they will crave individuality when they are looking at brands. they’re also not just looking at brands but also the products! Make them stand out and make sure they’re quality and you’ll have this generation hooked! And don’t forget to focus your energy on social media!

Another way to market to this generation is to focus your generation on their parents. Remember that a lot of the people within this generation are still under 18, their parents are making a lot of decisions for them, financial and otherwise. Reaching out to their parents may be an easy way to market your brand to Generation Z.

In summary

Understanding generations is key for segmenting your audience and gaining marketing success. Figure out the generation you will be focusing on in your marketing strategy and segment that generation accordingly to make sure you reach as many people effectively as possible to get leads and customers.

As always, if you need help with this, get in touch!

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