Marketing Channel Selection By Generation

Silent Generation? Millennial? Gen Z? Boomer? Gen X?
Postcard? Radio? Facebook? TikTok?
Coupon? BOGO? Free e-book?

Is it possible to be all things to all generations? Maybe.

But, it’s not really possible have only one marketing channel to reach all generations. Research in generational advertising channels sheds some light on why you need an omnichannel marketing strategy based on a consistent brand voice.

Research from Data Axle offers insights into understanding the key differences among how different generational cohorts want you to engage with them.

  • Boomers: (1946-1964) Prefers you to email them (58%), with TV ads coming in a distant second.
  • Gen X: (1965 – 1980) Email is their favorite way to engage. TV ads and social media are nearly tied at 34% and 35% respectively as their next channel of choice.
  • Millennials: (1981 – 1996) This is the generation that most wants your email. A whopping 64% indicated they prefer email communication. Millennials ranked social media (47%) as their second choice.
  • Gen Z: (1997-2012) Gen Z is the outlier where email is concerned. It’s their second choice (56%) behind social media (63%).

Regardless of generational cohort, everyone agreed: personalization is key!

Boomers are least concerned about personalization with only 77% saying its important, and Millennials lead the way with 88% of them indicating that they expect personalization from the brands they are loyal to.

Collecting data on your customers and building effective buyer personas is the key to effective personalization – especially when it comes to email. The minimum amount of effort you can put forth is to include their name. Truly personalized messages include references to location, previous purchases, or responses to your social content, just to name a few.

As we move to a “cookie-less” internet, thoughtfully gathering insights into your customers becomes an even greater challenge, but remains critically important when it comes to personalization.

Boomers respond well to ads and prefer visual, linear storytelling with images and videos. Facebook advertising is a great platform for this type communication and is place where you’ll find lots of Boomers. As recently as the end of 2020, people aged 56+ made up 78% of Facebook users.

GenX has been quick to adopt online technologies that have come into prominence during their young adulthood. However, they are generally less affluent than Boomers, and generally are looking for a coupon or promotion. Again, personalization will be key. Spamming Gen Xers with irrelevant offers, won’t entice them to spend.

This is a generation that is highly brand loyal, but simply won’t buy if they don’t believe they’re getting a good value for their investment. Online loyalty programs, and highly-targeted direct-mail offers are good ways to build relationships with GenX.

As the largest generation of entrepreneurs and the first truly digital generation, Millennials are definitely mobile-first. You must be authentic in your communication with this group, as they are internet-savvy, highly dependent on mobile technology, and will definitely search several digital channels before committing to your brand and/or offer.

They are used to having an array of choices delivered daily on their mobile devices. They rely on influencers and reviews, and are big comparison shoppers. To develop an effective relationship with Millennials, you must deliver a consistent brand story through all of your channels and be responsive to their information needs from laptop to tablet to phone.

GenZ are just coming into their own. They have short attention spans and juggle screens more adeptly than any generation before them. Don’t bother with traditional websites. If you don’t have an app, it’s unlikely you’ll capture their attention. They are used to having everything they want only a click or two (but never more than that) away. They are hyper-focused and expect personalization as the norm.

The other interesting insight to know about GenZ is that they prefer people over pitches. They are heavily engaged with SnapChat and TikTok for entertainment and use YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest to research products. They are also the generational cohort that relies heavily on the opinions of internet influencers – that must be part of your marketing mix for GenZers.

Understanding the unique information needs and the gratifications each generation gets from technology is at the heart of effective digital marketing in the Information Age. Your digital marketing team at ACS Creative is only one simple call away. We’ll help you create a digital marketing plan of omnichannel communication options to reach your audiences in the most effective manner.