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Marketing to generational wants and needs is an ever-changing process, with trends emerging around every corner. Regardless of age, technology is no longer thought of as being a separate part of life—it IS life, so brands need to offer experiences that are seamlessly integrated between platforms, content and product offerings. How this is done varies across life stages, as attitudes towards retail vary.
Generation Alpha (2012-now)
Probably the least talked about generation is comprised of those who aren’t “consuming” anything on their own quite yet, but we can be sure of one thing: they will. These young children, many just now entering school, are anticipated to be the most digitally immersed and the most wealthy of all the generations. Technology will be a way of life for them in a way that even Millennials and Gen Z won’t understand, and brands will need to adapt to both the spending power and the technologically driven mindset of those growing up in a fully “connected” world.
Brand Tip: Plan now for the spending power of this group as they approach more autonomy.
Centennials or Generation Z (Born 2000-2012)
The ethnically and racially diverse Gen Z has grown up with social media and have never lived a minute without mobile devices and technological connectivity. Like their Gen X parents, they care deeply about social responsibility and how brands meet their commitments to doing good in the world. Also known as “digital natives”, they are completely comfortable with digital interfaces in physical storefronts.
Brand Tip: Begin to develop the highly personalized and targeted experiences this generation expects.
Millennials or Generation Y (Born 1980-1999)
Want to use emerging technologies to support and promote your brand? This approach will resonate with the millennial crowd. Their openness to technology—and lack of need for human interaction—is a trend that is driving change across the entire shopping landscape. Like no generation before them, the Millennials have overturned the way brands do business. And like predictions surrounding their Generation Alpha children, they will embrace new technology right as it emerges.
Brand Tip: Have your eye on the trends and future of tech at all times.
Generation X (Born 1965-1979)
There was a significant time in the lives of most Generation Xers when they weren’t bombarded with all things digital, but it’s been around long enough to be part of everyday activities for them. This means this powerful generation responds to both digital and traditional marketing. Currently at their maximum money-earning potential, this group exhibits an extremely high level of brand loyalty, while also valuing authentic interactions and looking for brands that can speak their language.
Brand Tip: Focus on uncovering what resonates and will resonate with this generation to maintain loyalty for the future.
Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964)
Boomers are entering retirement age at a rapid rate, in fact, each day 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 in the United States alone. Their lifestyle and spending habits are changing so quickly that brands need to be nimble to keep up with this market segment. The industry must meet this large generation where they are headed in order to keep them spending. Marketing that addresses challenges like increased health concerns and fixed income requirements should be deftly balanced with the group’s overall desire to stay active and engaged.
Brand Tip: Be nimble as you anticipate the needs of this generation, and changing spending habits.