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A Quick Primer on Generational Marketing

A Quick Primer on Generational Marketing

Whether working with an agency or developing marketing strategies in-house, demographics are a vital piece of the puzzle in building a successful and effective marketing or advertising campaign for small-businesses.  Growing your business will require an accurate demographic snapshot of who your best customers are, and who potential customers you’d like to acquire are.  Generational marketing is a part of demographic analysis that should not be ignored by small businesses. An effective marketing campaign will recognize and leverage generational differences in your target market and lead to more successful marketing efforts and advertising strategies.

The following is a quick primer on generational marketing and how your small-business can target each generation more effectively:

The Baby Boomers

This generation is currently between 49 and 66 years old, and they are the most populous generation, by far.  The Baby Boomer generation was shaped by their parents, who struggled through the Depression and World War II, as a result this generation is extremely hard-working and industrious. Known for being trailblazing optimists and non-conformists, Boomers are highly dedicated to their careers and businesses.  In the marketplace, Baby Boomers place enormous value on quality of service and relationships.  Businesses that offer the best service and create lasting relationships, can earn the Baby Boomers’ brand-loyalty for life.  The marketing channels that speak most effectively to the Baby Boomer Generation are the most traditional advertising channels – television and radio.

Generation X

Currently between 28-48 years of age, Generation X is largely made up of Baby Boomer children now raising families of their own and launching successful careers. Gen-Xers have a serious independent streak, as they look to move out of the Baby Boomers massively successful shadow.  Generation X has been influenced much more than other generations by the technological boom of the past 30 years. They’ve harnessed the powers of the personal computer and the internet and they are the most likely group to spend significant time researching products and services on the internet before making purchases.  Due to their busy lifestyles, Generation Xers place enormous importance on both convenience and purchase value. The most effective channel to reach Generation X is the internet. Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Yelp and the blogsphere are their domains.


Millennials are currently between 7 and 27 years of age. This generation has a wholly unique set of values that have set it apart from previous generations. Their view of world has been shaped tremendously by their upbringing in a culture that has ingrained in them the concepts that they are “special” and “can change the world”. This generation is highly multi-cultural, highly social and globalized.   Mobile technology, in particular, has greatly influenced this group and they’ve grown up with the world at their fingertips. They value peer acceptance as extremely important in their market choices and are only brand loyal if it improves their peer standing.  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) campaigns are very influential among Millennials, as they believe businesses have an obligation to improve their community.  This generation is most effectively reached through mobile technology, as they thrive on texts and instant messaging.

Each generation has it’s own distinct values and unique motivations guiding their market decisions and purchase behaviors. Every successful small-business would be wise to recognize these generational differences when developing and executing their marketing and advertising strategies. However, the most successful small-businesses will find the consistent and homogeneous generational values their marketing strategies can address and strive to reach several generations simultaneously.

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by Phil Loya // Veteran webmaster with more than a decade of website experience working with organizations large and small.

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