Traditionalists, members of the age group born before world War II, are sometimes called "Silents" because they did their jobs silently and uncomplainingly. Loyalty, commitment, honesty, and consistency mean a great deal to Traditionalists. Growing up in the Depression taught them the value of a dollar, so they'll hold onto their money unless they have a really sound reason to do otherwise. If you aim your products and services at retirees, chances are that you're addressing many Traditionalists. While these folks do make use of online platforms, they're also very open to more traditional marketing channels such as direct mail and flyers.
Baby Boomers are the Traditionalists' children, representing the postwar population boom that gave us the first generation of TV-watching kids. As you might expect, television (and its advertising) still makes an impact on this generation. Baby Boomers grew up experiencing a unique combination of cultural stability and political instability -- Howdy Doody and Father Knows Best vs. the Cold War and "duck and cover" nuclear drills. Many of them turned on social norms when they became young adults in the 1960s, developing a degree of skepticism that compels them to try before they buy. These prospective customers must be won over with free offers, money-back guarantees, and loyalty programs. The majority of them use both the Internet and some form of social media, but their social media use is more about personal connections than shopping or professional gain.
Generation X-ers were born between 1965 and 1980. Although they gained the nickname "Slackers" somewhere along the way, this title refers more to their values than to their work ethic. Generation X is the adaptable generation, with its willingness to change jobs, careers, and locations in the pursuit of a healthy work/life balance. Aiming your marketing message along these lines can help you get and hold these individuals' attention. X-ers were the first generation of adults to make heavy use of the World Wide Web, so the Internet has always felt like home to them. Hone your website content and work your Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social media channels hard to land this fish.
Generation Y members are also called "Millennials," since they were born between 1980 and 2000. This generation is the first one born into a truly Web-savvy world in which blogs, YouTube, and other channels serve as primary sources of information. Their life in the virtual world, with its endless possibilities, fuels their desire to shape their own lives with as much flexibility and diversity as possible. You may find that they respond to marketing content that emphasizes diversity and optimism, taking a global approach rather than a more localized focus. Millennials are also used to easy access, interaction and teamwork, so emphasize these points as well. It goes without saying that the digital realm is the place to target this generation.
The most recent generation, Generation Z, is still in its formative years. If you're marketing to children and teenagers, bear in mind that this age group is obsessed with technology -- and watch them carefully to see how today's trends produce tomorrow's crop of consumers.
These categories are kind of arbitrary, of course. Still, thinking along generational lines can help you craft your marketing content to specific age groups more accurately and effectively. Give it a try -- and contact a professional marketing copywriter if you need help saying the right things to the right generation!