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  • Writer's pictureAnnie-Mai Hodge

How to market to different generations

Updated: Aug 30, 2020

Understanding how to market to different generations is essential when you’re creating a social media marketing campaign. You might have already created your buyer persona, but do you know how different generations respond to various forms of marketing?

You might already have your buyer persona, but have you considered how the different generations respond to different forms of marketing? 

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

Focus on Facebook

Baby Boomers are ALL about Facebook. Not only does this generation use this platform to connect with loved ones, but this is how Baby Boomers like to keep informed.

Tip: Use advanced targeting on Facebook to reach your ideal Baby Boomer prospects, and target them on age, interests, life events, location and gender. However, avoid retargeting to this generation. Baby Boomers are more likely to feel like their privacy is being invaded and may even block further ads from your brand.

Use video

Video marketing is an important aspect when it comes to marketing to Baby Boomers. Try to use short-form and informative content to help this generation understand your message loud and clear. In addition to this, it’s essential to make sure you caption your videos.

According to Sprout Social, 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound, so using captions will place you ahead of your competitors that don’t.

Tip: If you’re wondering how you should present your videos, they should be square, as according to Buffer, square videos hugely outperformed landscape videos. In fact, square videos received 35% more views.


Baby Boomers are aged between 56-74, so making your marketing efforts accessible is essential. Use larger text as many baby boomers struggle to see smaller text, and may wear glasses. 

Tip: Try to avoid using any font smaller than 18 pt to ensure readability.

Adapt your content for colour blindness, as according to Colour Blind Awareness, 4.5% of the population is colour blind. 

Tip: When marketing, you need to ensure that colour contrast is accessible.

Colour contrast is the ratio of text (known as the foreground colour) and the colour of the background. Facebook suggests that: “Text should have a ratio of 4:5:1 or greater with the background.”

Use subtitles and alt-text. Tip: It’s best practice to ensure that all of your videos have subtitles, and all of your images should have alt-text that describes the photos for those who are visually impaired.

Provide Valuable Information

Baby Boomers are likely to respond positively to useful information. When you’re marketing a product or service to a Baby Boomer, you need to get straight to the point. This generation has the most disposable income, so keep your key selling points clear.

Tip: Use big, eye-catching headings, bullet points and the active voice. Think about the how and why your service will benefit them in a concise format.

Millennials (1981-1996)


According to Annex Cloud, Millennials are much more likely to purchase a product if a friend has recommended it.

  • Only 1% of Millennials trust traditional advertising.

  • Around 91% of Millennials would consider buying a product if a friend recommended it.

  • Around 48% of Millennials say that word-of-mouth influences them more than TV ads.

  • Millennials are 2.5 times more likely than Baby Boomers to occasionally share a social media link that references a brand/product, and are more likely to follow that brand across socials.

Tip: Create an ad that is based on referring friends in exchange for something. For example: “Refer a friend and receive 25% off your next order” or “Refer a friend and get £5 off of your next purchase”.

Outbound or Inbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is where a company starts the conversation and sends a clear message to its audience. This type of marketing is impersonal as it includes TV and radio ads, as well as print advertisements and cold calls. Millennials like to feel connected, and this form of marketing does not enable this. Additionally, Millennials like to research before they make a purchase. So, forums, blogs, and social media is the best way to connect with them and create long-lasting relationships organically.

Tip: Inbound marketing is growing your brand by creating lasting relationships with your audience, therefore encouraging loyalty. When you’re creating your next campaign, use inbound marketing methods such as blogging, social media, email, SEO, and video content if you’re trying to reach and connect with Millennials.


Millennials are more likely to read blogs before they make a purchase. According to GoBankingRates, almost half (47%) of Millennials spend around 1-3 hours researching finance options before making a purchase. On the whole, Millennials are not impulse buyers, but they are more likely to make large purchases. Attract more Millennials to your website by curating blog content so they can learn more about your product and your brand.

Tip: Millennials are always looking for discounts online, so use locked blog content with the offer of a promo code in return for their details. This way, you increase your email marketing list, click-through rate and potentially have a sale.

Gen Z (1996-2010)

Mobile optimisation

One of the most critical aspects of marketing to Gen Z is having a fully mobile optimised website. According to ClickZ, nearly 100% of Gen Z consumers own a smartphone and spend 4+ hours per day online, and this is why mobile optimisation is so crucial.

If you have an optimised website, it allows your consumers to be reached at a faster rate, and it has been proven to increase customer satisfaction. The benefits of having a mobile optimised website are improved user experience, increased average time on your website, better mobile SEO ad places you ahead of your competitors.

Gen Z are twice as likely to convert on mobile, so if your website is too difficult to use and too slow, you’re missing out on a lot of conversions. Tip: Test your site on speed and mobile friendliness with Google.

Visual content

Using short-form videos, gifs and music is an excellent way to catch the attention of Gen Z. TikTok’s recent boom in popularity is huge evidence of this. When creating visual marketing content, don’t be afraid to use humour as social presences that are fun and meme-centric are popular with Gen Z.

Try to keep up-to-date with the latest memes if you’re going to post them, as one of the worst things you could do is try to be ‘relatable’ with a meme from last year. It’s essential to keep your brand’s tone of voice but be unpredictable. If you have a witty response to a customer, you might find that it goes viral and therefore, drives sales and engagement.

Tip: Set up a YouTube account for your brand. According to a Google Survey, YouTube is one of the very first places Gen Z turns to when they want to be entertained. This survey revealed that 85% of teenagers are actively on the platform with 86% of Gen Z using it as an opportunity to expand their knowledge. Create content that shows an experience, and you’ll find that Gen Z will associate those experiences with your product and will be more likely to make a purchase.

Customer service

According to the National Retail Federation, three-quarters of Gen Z view responsiveness as a metric of authenticity. If your brand doesn’t have authenticity, they aren’t going to respond positively to your marketing efforts.

Excellent customer service is essential when marketing to any generation, but it’s exceptionally important if you’re trying to reach a younger audience. Responding quickly and appropriately will ensure customer loyalty.

Tip: Respond to reviews personally, try to avoid having a template response. In addition to this, try to build up your reviews as a study has shown that 41% of Gen Z read at the very least five reviews before making a purchase.

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