Did you know that every generation is known to have certain “personalities”? In fact, it is more than personalities, it is more of how people react to their environment and influence who they become. So when you are marketing, it is very important to know who your target audience is and send your message straight to them.
So what are these personality types?
• The Silent Generation: These are the people who grew up with the saying “children should be seen and not heard”. It covers all people born before 1943. These people can be easy to please because they don’t want to share how they really feel about it, they will just take what is offered. Large numbered graphs and bright colors will probably not mean anything to them, simplicity is the key.
• The Baby Boomer Generation: Once our men made it back home from WWII, our country experienced an influx of babies. Boomers went through some rough times and are the type of people grateful to have what they do, yet they will boycott a product or service if the advertising comes across to them as offensive. Technology is not always their friend, so trying to communicate to them about new gadgets may not work for this group. Although we all function with cell phones and iPods, the boomers may need a little extra attention to learn what it is that you are trying to sell them and know that they are not the generation that needs the most high tech model. Sending the message of making life easier will grasp their attention more than a picture of a bikini model on a motorcycle. Visuals of family and friends will stimulate this group, posters and even brochures.
• Generation X: This generation goes from roughly 1964-1980. Many of us in the workforce right now are this generation. Those born in this time period may have seen moms go back to work and spent the afternoons alone at home until their parents made it back. Many started to experience the divorce epidemic that plagues our society. Suddenly, women knew they could live on their own and didn’t need a provider to do help them out. This generation needs praise or lifts to self-esteem. Being home alone, they didn’t get the feedback they needed or that the other generations got by having mom home all day. This generation will tolerate technology and understands how to read graphs and spreadsheets placed before them on PowerPoint or creatively done posters. But you will make a sale if it makes them feel better about themselves.
• Generation Y (or the Millennials): The term, Millennials, is being used more and more widely anymore. These are the kids born after 1980. They tend to have a rather high self-esteem, not because their parents have taught them this, but because suddenly everyone needs to be a winner no matter what they do. There are no losers anymore in sports, only winners. It has led to a feeling of entitlement in that generation. These kids are very technologically savvy and can pick up a new cell phone and know how to navigate it. They can turn on a new video game and beat the thing right off the bat. They are like programmed little machines and when they have to work for anything, they get frustrated. Think of meals… A Millennial would rather microwave a meal and have it instantly than take the time to cook it. It needs to be fast, it needs to be the best, and it needs to be instantaneous. Obviously, these guys crave the PowerPoint, being so technological, but television and computer messages may be your best bet here. Social Media has exploded because of the Millennial generation.
Knowing what you know now, sit down and think about your product that you used to believe was for everyone. How can you promote it to cater to all the generations? Use simple imagery for the Silent Generation, wholesome messages for the Baby Boomers, energetic and fun stuff for the kids from the 70s and even the 80s, and then you need to appeal to the Millennials with very interesting and immediate solutions to their problems. It is so interesting how we all adjusted to our environment and became the way we are. Use the information to do better business!
Jessica Reynolds loves spending time with her family and living life through photography and art. She has spent considerable time running her own businesses while raising her kids. Currently, she blogs for Poster Session, a large format poster printer.