Millennials, Gen Xers, Gen Zs… Aren’t People Just People Anymore?


As marketers and advertisers, it’s our job to know who we need to target in order to turn positive results from every dollar spent. The more we know and understand about our audience - as well as their ideologies and habits, the better we can direct our efforts with the corresponding strategies. By sorting and assessing people by certain population cohorts, such as age groups, we can really dig in, learn what makes them tick and in turn makes them buy. Each generation naturally has different life experiences, likes/dislikes, and often they have shared ideals or perceptions of their world based on influences from significant political, cultural, or economic events. Lucky for us and you, there is currently a wealth of information and research on each generation and their corresponding traits, and although it can sometimes be generalized and stereotypical, getting the big picture and tapping into that information is key. Understanding our Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials and so on is essential to ensure we’re not only reaching the right audience but also that we are walking the right walk and talking the right talk to gain their attention and loyalty, so let’s spend some time learning some basics.

The Greatest Generation (Yes, that’s really what they are called)

This generation is our most senior, composed of people born between 1901 and 1945. World War ll shaped their lives, and if they didn’t go off to fight in it, they were certainly impacted by it. They also were affected by the Great Depression, and most people in this generation grew up living very simply, with few luxuries. This generation doesn’t fully embrace technology, cell phones or the Internet, and they tend to respond best to radio, paper or television advertising. They are not big spenders but do believe in quality, honesty, and service. Although they do use some technology - including computers and cell phones, it’s rather limited.

Baby Boomers

These are the people born after World War ll, between 1946 to approximately 1964. They are the largest demographic, and they are now getting older and retiring. Active, healthy living is a big priority for Boomers, who typically want to defy aging and being referred to as “senior citizens”. They are known for having a strong work ethic, and many of them were able to access stable jobs with benefits and affordable houses (now worth a pretty penny), which means they tend to have more disposable income, which they spend carefully. Boomers are not terribly tech-savvy, and prefer Facebook and email over other social media platforms.

Generation X

This group was born between 1965 and 1982-ish. They came to adulthood during some tough economic times in North America, but are also the most highly educated generation. They tend to believe strongly in balancing family, life and work – any are quite entrepreneurial and independent. Like the Baby Boomers, this group didn’t grow up with personal computers or cell phones, but they are much more comfortable around technology in general such as computers, social media, and new software. They do prefer email, phone calls and text messages over any other type of messaging.

Millennials

Millennials (also called Generation Y) are called that as a result of growing up during the start of the 21st century. Born between 1982 and anywhere from 1994-2000, this group is garnering much attention these days, from educators, social policy planners, to marketers and beyond. By 2025, it is estimated that Millennials will make up 75% of Canada’s workforce – with great earning (and spending!) potential. This group, although not quite as large in numbers as the Baby Boomers, is the pot of gold for any marketers who can earn their loyalty. Millennials (also called Generation Y) are known for being more self-centered, confident, and living in the moment. They are fine with moving around and don’t crave stability. They also have grown up with computers and ever-changing technology, so they are very comfortable with common software programs, the Internet, and any variety of social media platforms. They also like to keep up with trends and help make positive change in the world.

Generation Z (also called the iGeneration)

This group born after the Millennials is very unique – and sparking very keen interest from marketers everywhere! Born in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, these young faces are more global and more linked-in to social media and various networks than other groups. This group is emerging as savvy consumers, who aren’t particularly familiar with traditional advertising such as TV, radio or print – so therefore aren’t as connected to it or influenced by it. They are online and multi-tasking constantly – with fewer in-person interactions. As new trends and habits emerge with this group, so do new trends in marketing and advertising. The research on this group is still ongoing and being carefully monitored while awaiting the next generational shift.

As any marketer, advertising specialist or business owner will tell you, it’s important to know exactly who your customers and clients are. That’s why tapping into all and any data you have at your disposal will help focus your marketing strategy and target the groups who need are key to your business’ growth – with techniques that work specifically for them (they do exist, without a shot gun approach). If you want to appeal to the Baby Boomers for example, then you shouldn’t be spending your advertising resources on Instagram. Conversely, if you want to attract the young Generation Zs, a big flashy TV ad likely won’t make any impact on that group. The key is to stay informed about the latest research and data - and not just keep up with the trends, but get ahead of them. For any questions you may have about finding and capturing the loyalty of your unique customers, connect with us online or by calling 705-252-4180. Our knowledgeable team is here to help you create a strong strategy that fuels real growth – so you can have a strong return on your investment. From website design, build and restructuring to printed materials, digital and traditional advertising our team can give you all the support you need in one place.

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