Generational Marketing … Oops – There Is No Mass Market!

5 Generations
 Generational Marketing


 What’s A Generation Anyway?

How Do Generations Differ?

      Different Marketing Strategies Required ?

No Mass Market?

For the first time in our American history, four generations will be in the workforce, side-by-side. Soon—there will, quite possibly, be five generations as Gen Z will shortly have working teenagers in its cohort.



What’s A Generation Anyway?

The U.S. currently has five generations:

  1. The Silent Generation
  2. The Baby Boomers
  3. Gen X
  4. Gen Y or Millennials
  5. Gen Z

Social Scientists indicate that a generation comes along approximately every  23.4 years—give or take a few years. The first ‘American generation’, (1701-1723)  was named Awakening. The most current generation, (2003 – ? ) is currently, rather unimaginatively, named Generation ZGeneration Z will be America’s 15th generation.

How Do Generations Differ?

It’s very difficult to get your mind around the scope of  five generations. Below is a chart that defines generations along several axis. It is designed to, in one page, give the reader a contextual, although not definitive, appreciation of the differences that delineate generational groupings. I have also added statistics that indicate the web  / Internet connectivity between generational cohorts. Hopefully it will serve as a handy reference guide.

While all generations have similarities, it is simplistic to say they are the same.  Marketers must be mindful that there are as many differences in attitudes, values, behaviors and lifestyles within a generation as there are between generations. But we believe this reality does not diminish the value of generational analysis; it merely adds to its richness and complexity.

The generational differences are profound and real. They must be taken into consideration by any marketer or retailer in preparing a marketing plan.

Generations Defined


This composite chart is based on information from McCrindle Research 2012, Pew Research Center 2014, Forrester Research 2014


Different Marketing Strategies Required ?

The above Chart shows that the vast majority of Americans are Internet / Web connected. Mobile communication devices now have a 103% penetration in the U.S. as of January 2014 according to a We Are Social’s report.

Additional social and market research indicates that people communicate based on their generational backgrounds. Each generation has distinct, as the above chart points out, attitudes, behaviors, expectations, habits and motivational buttons. Learning how to communicate with the different generations is now requisite for any marketer or retailer.

No Mass Market?

Marketers and retailers are beginning to come to the realization that there is no mass market. The customer mosaic is now apparent. Inter and Intra-generational and cultural differences add complexity to the marketing process. Big Data Analytics will further add to the intricacy.

Understanding Generational Marketing is just the first piece of the super-puzzle that is the consumer.


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