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Posted on 28 March 2024 by Ceris Burns

From Boomers to Gen Z: Mastering Messaging That Speaks Their Language

Understanding and connecting with your audiences is essential for successful communication. One of the challenges that businesses face is how to tailor their strategies to resonate with different age groups. This is where generational marketing comes into play, with messaging and campaigns specifically designed to appeal to each generation.

Today, workforces and customer demographics often encompass various age groups, each broadly with their own distinct characteristics, values, and preferences. To engage with these diverse age groups successfully, requires understanding the nuances of each generation – namely Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers – and tailoring your communication strategies accordingly.

What works for one generation may not necessarily resonate with another. Factors like technological fluency, communication styles, preferred marketing channels, values, and life stages all come into play. Simply put, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t cut it.

Distinctions in brand engagement

The youthful Gen Z generation (born 1997-2012) have never known a time without digital media. Therefore, they expect content to be delivered in a fast and authentic manner – short form video and visual communication reign supreme. They research the Internet for products, services, and solutions to problems or topics they’re interested in. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are  their go-to channels for information and entertainment. Watch this space for Generation Alpha too (born 2013-present) who are more tech and brand aware than ever before!

Millennials (born 1981-1996) are also tech-savvy and socially conscious. According to Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, work/life balance remains a top priority, with the drive for greater environmental sustainability and social impact guiding lifestyle and career decisions.

Generation X (born 1965 to 1980) are characterised by their adaptability to both traditional and digital media. They value authenticity and tend to be more sceptical of marketing gimmicks, preferring to look for additional information about products and companies themselves. However, they have a high affinity with the brands they trust. They value businesses that use storytelling to convey their mission, and those that can demonstrate the role a product or service could play in enhancing their lives.

Having spent a number of years without digital and social media, Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964), whilst spending time online, continue to have a strong attachment to traditional forms of media, including television, radio, and print.

Can AI help your approach?

AI tools are becoming more prevalent in aiding content development, with machine learning helping to provide data-driven insights for enhanced personalisation. This technology can be transformative in how businesses communicate with their customers.

However, in our recent blog, which focused on a considered approach to AI, we emphasised that care and judgement need to be applied. Matters such as copyright, impersonation, bias, content duplication, privacy, and security could all potentially harm a company reputation.

Any communication activity undertaken must consistently align with your overarching business strategy, goals, and objectives. Seeking expert advisory support will facilitate the adoption of a well-balanced approach in implementing omnichannel strategies.

Common ground to be found

Although generational marketing provides valuable insights into the preferences of different age groups, it’s important to remember that individuals within each generation have diverse views and focuses. Moreover, there are shared interests and commonalities that transcend age groups.

Tailoring your strategies is about understanding the general trends while recognising that personal preferences vary. Additionally, certain tactics, such as authenticity, personalised experiences, and socially responsible messaging, resonate across generations.

If you’d like support in creating content that establishes genuine and meaningful connections across the generations, please get in touch.


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