Do different generations consume and respond to marketing messages differently?

It’s a question that deserves examining and the big question, Is There A Generation Gap In Marketing?

On one hand, I am not typical of my generation and on the other, I fit in perfectly.

I’m a child of the 60’s and 70’s.  My kids are children of the 80’s and 90’s.  I sometimes forget about the generational differences because I forget either how old I really am or how young they (and their peers) really are.

As usual what often prompts these articles are a series of events that are unrelated but build on one another and this month the topic was Millennials.

Can you count the 4 generations?

Can you count the 4 generations?

My media habits have changed but so have nearly everyone’s due to technology changes.

The dominance of traditional mass media that reached huge percentages of the population at the same time is gone.  The traditional mass media consisted of broadcast TV networks that you would watch without having to pay a cable or internet or data fee for (namely ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS & Fox); Local radio stations (Fort Wayne had no more than 10 and only 3 or 4 dominate stations), and the daily newspapers.

First came the internet revolution and then the smartphone revolution and now we truly live in a different world.

Instead of only being able to reach a mass audience with your message, you can also reach a very targeted audience with your message.

Instead of having to choose from two TV shows that are on at the same time on different channels, I can watch them when I want, where I want and on whatever device I want.

Forget about reading the printed newspaper.  I get my news, even my local newspaper news online.

Radio for me is still a pleasure to listen to, but the number of stations I have available is now close to 30 and if I had satellite radio in my car, my choices would be in the hundreds.  All new vehicles sold in the last few years have offered internet options to replace my radio and on the same token, my favorite radio stations have made themselves available for me to listen to online where ever I go.

The phone book was replaced by Google and I could go on and on, but I risk sounding like an old fogey.

I don’t want to go back to the old days.  Instead I want to help people of the older generations adapt to the marketing options that are now available and at the same time, help the younger generations understand the timeless marketing principles that apply no matter what the advances are now and in the future with advertising delivery methods.

At one of the meetings I was at that inspired this article, there was a young man who was a little too passionate about digital media and overselling it to the detriment of traditional media.  Because I work in both, I plan on meeting with him to see what’s what.  I hope to expand his thinking, not to sell him on the traditional media, but to help him understand the limitations of all media and R.O.I. measurement.

It is true that there is a Generation Gap in Marketing.  Take a look at some numbers from a report I read about Small and Medium Business marketing:

In order to better understand SMBs current marketing strategies, Magisto surveyed 500 U.S. based small and medium sized businesses about their digital/mobile marketing strategies and tactics. Key findings in the report continue.

  • Millennials spend 58% of their marketing budget on digital media; Baby boomers spend only 14% of their marketing budget on digital media, making millennials 3X more likely than baby boomers to spend the majority of their media budget on digital advertising

  • Nearly half 41% of millennials spend the bulk of their marketing budget on mobile media. Less than 10% of baby boomers rely on the same media

and from that same report:

According to eMarketer, 2017 will be the first year in history that digital media ad spending surpasses television ad spending.

When I was in my late 20’s and 30’s the marketing world was also changing and everyone of us, no matter what our generation or age, need to be fully aware of how these changes can impact your business.

Want help figuring all this out?  Contact me.