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Generational Marketing: How Each Generation Has Adapted To and Utilizes Technology

It’s pretty common for me to groan when I see some article berating Millennials or making some other terrible stereotypical criticism. However, there’s little doubt there aren’t natural behavioral tendencies between generations and their relationship to technology.

I think it’s safe to say that, on average, older generations don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call someone, while younger folks will jump to a text message. We even have a client who built a text messaging platform for recruiters to communicate with candidates… the times are changing!

Each generation has its own distinct characteristics, one of such is how they use technology. With technology rapidly innovating at a breakneck speed, the gap between each generation also impacts the way each age group uses various technological platforms to make their life much easier – both in life and at the workplace.


What is Generational Marketing?

Generational marketing is a marketing approach that uses segmentation based on a cohort of people born within a similar span of time who share a comparable age and life stage and who were shaped by a particular span of time (events, trends, and developments) to have certain experiences, attitudes, values, and behaviors. It aims to create a marketing message that appeals to the unique needs and preferences of each generation.

What Are the Generations (Boomers, X, Y, and Z)?

BrainBoxol developed this infographic, The Tech Evolution And How We All Fit In, that details each of the generations, some of the behaviors they have in common concerning technology adoption, and how marketers often speak to that generation.

  • Baby boomers (Born between 1946 and 1964) – They were the pioneers of adopting home computers — but at this point in their lives, they’re a bit more reluctant about adopting newer technologies. This generation values security, stability, and simplicity. Marketing campaigns aimed at this group may emphasize retirement planning, financial security, and health products.
  • Generation X (Born between 1965 to 1980) – The definition of Generation X can vary depending on the source, but the most widely accepted range is 1965 to 1980. Some sources may define the range as ending at 1976. This generation primarily utilizes email and telephone to communicate. Gen Xers are spending more time online and utilizing their smartphones to access apps, social media, and the internet. This generation values flexibility and technology. Marketing campaigns aimed at this group may emphasize work-life balance, technology products, and experiential travel.
  • Millennials or Generation Y (Born between 1980 to 1996) – primarily utilize text messaging and social media. Millennials were the first generation to grow up with social media and smartphones and continue to be the generation with the broadest technology usage. This generation values personalization, authenticity, and social responsibility. Marketing campaigns aimed at this group may emphasize customized products, socially conscious branding, and digital experiences.
  • Generation Z, iGen, or Centennials (Born 1996 and later) – primarily utilize handheld communication devices and accessories to communicate. They’re on messaging apps 57% of the time they are using their smartphones. This generation values convenience, accessibility, and technology. Marketing campaigns aimed at this group may emphasize quick and easy solutions, mobile technology, and social media.

Because of their distinct differences, marketers often utilize generations to target media and channels better as they’re speaking to a specific segment. The full infographic provides detailed behaviors, including some troublesome ones that cause conflicts between the age groups. Check it out…

The Tech Evolution and How We All Fit In
Brainboxol’s site is no longer active so links have been removed.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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