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Here we will look at the habits of three well-known age groups and learn about better communication with each group given their preferences. There is a shift taking place right now in online advertising. It can be seen in nearly every facet of how we do business. The change I’m talking about is the retiring of Baby Boomers, the shifting needs of Gen X’ers and the upward mobility of the Millennial and Generation Y crowd.

It’s important, as business owners, that we evaluate our communication with existing and potential customers. Each interaction can, and must, be tailored to the communication styles of each age group.

You can create or have created webpages that are targeted to each group specifically, this is where it is important to Know the Audience you plan on marketing to the most.

For example: A Baby Boomer and Gen X’er are more apt to interact with marketing that touts savings or a one-time deal, while Millennials are more likely to pay attention to a more philanthropic or community-based donating in exchange for purchase. Like letting them choose who to donate the change to as can be seen when purchasing domains on the Godaddy website.

Generational Communication Habits:

Millennials / Generation Y (born 1978-2000; ages 37-15)
The newest work force, poised 76 million strong to take over the majority of our nation’s jobs (if they can find them) within the next few years. Growing up with digital toys and technologies all around them, this quick, insightful, intelligent and energetic group believes they can achieve whatever dreams they have. Growing up instilled with optimism and the “you can achieve anything” attitude, their determination and drive emboldens their outlook on life. Equally equipped with sense of entitlement, creative nature and unafraid attitude, Millennials are a powerful group worthy of understanding. They respect differences and value work which represents an effort to achieve something greater than simply “clocking-in”. With assuredness, a mastery of today’s technology and open minded perspective, the best communication is direct and to the point while keeping in mind the importance of catering to their feelings through positive feedback, kudos and compliments.

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964; ages 69-51)
The largest of today’s workforce, and soon to be retiring generation (but still the largest buyers), the Baby Boomers number over 80 million and were raised in the surrounding of unlimited possibility coupled with a “career first” and hard work mentality even though it may have meant sacrificing family relationships. Their nature is built around putting time in, to achieve success. As a result, their dedication to the company and long-term follow through sets the stage for how they naturally communicate after years of conditioning through hard work, which is detailed, documented and fact-driven content. But there’s also a flip side to this coin. As they’re growing older, watching their sons and daughters create families of their own, they genuinely love, and are proud of, the reflection created by talking about what’s made them who they are, and they want to hear your side of life too! I’ve found the best responses from this generation comes from authentic and non-business related conversation, which builds rapport and segues into a good business relationship. They like to know how you are and mostly expect the same, resulting in genuine dialogue and and what I consider to be an enjoyable experience.

Generation X-ers (born 1965-1977; ages 50-38)
The sons and daughters of Baby Boomers, today’s 44 million Gen-X’ers in America grew up in an environment of adaptability and a “life before work” type of attitude. Raised during a time when divorce rates tripled in America, they became self-reliant and leaned on each other for support. This resulted in the development of a common attitude which valued family, relationships and well-being over the previous generation’s “career life”. Additionally, their upbringing coincided with the infusion of new, digital technologies we all use today, like internet, e-mailing and texting. As a result, a lot of this tech-savvy generation’s communication is made from those platforms, and they are comfortable in receiving responses in the same fashion. This large and imaginative group likes to feel both good and have a sense of security, innovate through hard work and find the best way possible to maintain the quality of their life and work balance for themselves and their family. Speaking to this demographic requires a different approach than we would the Baby Boomers, not only because of their familiarity with technological communication, but because of their alternative mindset, outlook and perspective. Gen-X’ers seek and respond well to your personal (and up-beat) opinion and honesty in what they do, and likewise feel more comfortable when you’re genuinely interested in theirs. This establishes a genuine and trusted connection. With that connection established, the best communication is more topic than platform driven – they cherish relatable conversation, and chiming in on what’s going on with you as much as you do with them.

I hope this has provided some helpful tips or even better, an insight that you can carry over into your marketing communications today! If you need a new website, an upgrade or editing of an existing website or want to learn how to market to different demographics online please fill out the contact form on this page - Thanks, Ann Menke

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