Everything You Need To Know About Generational Marketing

By Christina

Nov 02, 2023

Small businesses need to meet their customers on the platforms with which they are most comfortable, whether that be print, digital or a combination of the two.

Effective marketing attracts and engages the right person with the right message at the right time.  This is especially true when marketing to people of different generations.

When considering that your target market could span multiple generations, it's important to be savvy about how you will develop your marketing/advertising campaigns for these different audiences.

What is generational marketing?

Generational marketing is a marketing strategy that segments and targets consumers based on their generation.  Each generation has its own unique set of values, beliefs, and preferences, which influence how they consume information and make purchase decisions.  By understanding the different generations, marketers can create more effective marketing campaigns that resonate with their target audience.

The Four Generations

There are four main generations that marketers need to be aware of:

  • Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964): Baby Boomers have a significant amount of disposable income.  They are also the most likely generation to use traditional marketing channels, such as television and print advertising.
  • Generation X (born 1965-1980): Generation X is smaller than the Baby Boomer generation, but they are still a significant market segment.  They are more likely to use digital marketing channels, such as social media and email marketing.
  • Millennials (born 1981-1996): Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, and they are increasingly becoming the target of marketing campaigns.  They are more likely to use social media and mobile devices than other generations.
  • Generation Z (born 1997-present): Generation Z is the youngest generation, and they are still developing their spending habits.  However, they are already a significant market segment, and they are more likely to use digital marketing channels than other generations.

How to Market to Each Generation

When creating marketing campaigns, it is important to tailor your message to the specific generation you are targeting.  Here are some tips for marketing to each generation:

Silent Generation born before 1945

Characteristics: The Silent Generation is the oldest generation to market to.  This audience is looking for products and services that make life easier.  They are loyal to the businesses with which they spend money, and they value stability.  They also want respect and value relationships with those they do business with.

Marketing Strategies: TV, print, radio and direct mail, such as postcards, newsletters and leaflets.

Most responsive to: Simple, straightforward content and imagery that relates to the age group.  This generation values family, community and respect.

Baby Boomers:

Baby Boomers are more likely to respond to marketing messages that focus on quality, value, and experience.  They are also more likely to be loyal to brands that they trust.

Marketing strategies: Traditional advertising, such as print, radio and TV; loyalty programs that drive toward in-store purchases and in-person interactions; and social media as an entry point to brand or product research and easy online shopping.

Most responsive to: Customer service and simplistic and easy-to-understand content.

Generation X:

Generation X is more likely to respond to marketing messages that are relevant to their interests and lifestyle.  They are also more likely to be sceptical of marketing messages that they perceive as being too pushy.

Marketing strategies: Traditional advertising; loyalty programs; word of mouth, email and social marketing; and incentives, such as discounts, freebies and coupons.

Most responsive to: Honest and clear messaging, clear paths to purchasing, email marketing campaigns, customer service, offers and social media.

Xennials born: 1977 - 1985


Sometimes groups of people hold similar values that span across generations, usually people caught in the middle of two generations.  There is not a definitive line about where someone should fit, so a micro-generation is created.

The micro-generation of Xennials is made up of people born in the early millennial or late Gen x time frames.  This group grew up with technology but did not have social media in their childhood and teen years.  They were also more mature and aware of what was happening in the world than most millennials who were barely in their teens by around 2000.

Xennials enjoy financial flexibility, are entrepreneurial and treat travel as a priority.

Characteristics: Xennials value time as a luxury.  Many are in jobs that require long hours, so mobile and easy-to-navigate customer experiences are key.  They are not digital natives but adapted to technological advances and embrace the use of technology in their purchasing decisions.  They can also be sceptical of the motivations or values of established industries, so transparency is appreciated.

Marketing strategies: Digital and traditional marketing; social advertising, subscription plans, revived or reintroduced old products or relate to old products, keep content relevant and up to date.

Most responsive to: Transparency, nostalgia, easy paths to purchase, subscription models, home delivery of big-ticket items, health and self-care.


Millennials are more likely to respond to marketing messages that are authentic, social, and mobile-friendly.  They are also more likely to be influenced by peer recommendations and reviews.

Marketing strategies: Multi-channel, user-generated content, influencer marketing, social media marketing and content marketing.

Most responsive to: Brands that support causes, social media marketing, reviews, honest brands, price-to-value ratio and digital marketing.

Generation Z:

Generation Z is more likely to respond to marketing messages that are visual, interactive, and educational.  They are also more likely to be influenced by social media influencers and content creators.  They are more likely to buy directly from individuals in niche markets, through their websites.

Marketing strategies: Influencer marketing, reviews, videos, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, mobile interactions, social selling and advertising, personal website.

Most responsive to: Testimonial and influencer marketing, short videos, social and economic causes, and apps on smart phones, they want to buy from authentic people.

Commonalities between generations

Despite the differences between generations, brands can take advantage of the commonalities of each.  While companies may not use the same channels or messaging, the strategies can follow similar approaches.

For example, honesty and integrity are characteristics that consumers look for from brands across all generations.  Being straight forward with messaging and offers results in a stronger relationship with the market.

Each generation also prefers personalised communications and experiences from brands with which they have relationships.  There is a strong desire for one-to-one acknowledgement from advertisers.  While not every channel appeals to each generation, email has been one that every group expects communications from.


Generational marketing is an important strategy for businesses of all sizes.  By understanding the different generations, marketers can create more effective marketing campaigns that resonate with their target audience.

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