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Generational Marketing

September 6, 2010

Question of the day.  How do you market and communicate to such widely disbursed generations?

All of whom use different sorts of media? And, then how do you educate, inform, generate news, sales, and information awareness across all the different mediums and channels? It is such a dispersed world with so much “noise” out there.  You start first with understanding key generations at larger niche audiences and how they consume information and use media types and channels.

Knowing how people consume media generationally, is one key knowledge point and the other is monitoring social trends.

Below is some useful information for your back hip pocket, showing the most widely accepted cultural U.S. generations:

The Lost Generation. primarily known as the Generation of 1914 in Europe, is a term originating with Gertrude Stein to describe those who fought in World War I.

The Greatest Generation. also known as the G.I. Generation, is the generation that includes the veterans who fought in World War II. They were born from around 1901 to 1924, coming of age during the Great Depression. Journalist Tom Brokaw dubbed this the Greatest Generation in a book of the same name.

The Silent Generation, born 1925 to 1945.  This generational group includes those who were too young to join the service during World War II. Many had fathers who served in World War I. Generally recognized as the children of the Great Depression, this event during their formative years had a profound impact on them.

The Baby Boomer Generation. This is the generation that was born following World War II, about 1946 up to approximately 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates. The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave” and as “the pig in the python.”  By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it. In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of great affluence, then those of the immediate post WWII generation.

One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a “special generation” that is very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.

  • Memorable events: assassination of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., political unrest, walk on the moon, risk of the draft into the Vietnam War, anti-war protests, social experimentation, sexual freedom, Roe V. Wade, Stonewall Riots, drug experimentation, civil rights movement, environmental movement, women’s movement, protests and riots, Woodstock and similar music festivals, mainstream rock from the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, experimentation with various intoxicating recreational substances.
  • More on Boomer Generation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Boom_Generation

    Generation X. This is the generation generally defined as those born after the baby boom ended, and hence sometimes referred to as Baby Busters[13], with earliest birth dates seen used by researchers ranging from 1961 to the latest 1981 at its greatest extent.

    Generation Y. This group is also known as Generation Next, Millennials, or Echo Boomers.  The earliest suggested birth dates ranging from mid to late 1970s to the latest in the early 2000s.

    Today, many follow William Strauss and Neil Howe’s theories in defining the Millennials. They use the start year as 1982, and end years around the turn of the millennium.

    Generation Z, also known as Generation I or the Internet Generation, and dubbed the “Digital Natives.  The earliest birth is generally dated in the early 1990s, may have never ever used a manual typewriter, or a circular dial phone,

    We’re well aware that the Baby Boomers are the largest generation, followed by the Millennials, hence such the interest in both.

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