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How to market to the different generations

by Ed Abis,  05-Feb-2020 15:13:00

Marketing isn’t about throwing as much as possible at a wall, crossing your fingers and hoping something sticks. In order for it to be successful, you need to carefully tailor and tweak to suit your different audiences and markets. One of the best ways to do this is to segment by age rather than location or gender. This is called generational marketing, and it can work wonders.

If you want to speak to them effectively, it’s essential that you understand what makes them tick. There’s no point using Facebook marketing exclusively only to realise that your target market prefers the likes of Instagram and Snapchat. Let’s dive into the world of each generation.

Baby boomers

When they were born: Mid 1940s to mid 1950s

Spending habits: As you may have expected, baby boomers tend to be the most careful and frugal with their money as they settle down into retirement. They will always prefer to spend time seeking out the best possible deals, and aren’t as prone to impulse purchases without research. Baby boomers tend to stay loyal to their favourite shops and brands.


Marketing methods: Again, as you probably 

expected, baby boomers are the generation that is 
least likely to use social media. However, as the joke goes, they are becoming more active on Facebook so there’s a potential to target them here. But they prefer traditional marketing methods and are much more likely to watch television than the younger generations. And we’re not talking about Netflix, live TV with adverts and everything.
Social media: Baby boomers spent the majority of their life without the technology and internet-freedoms that we enjoy so easily today, so they’re pretty content without it. However, more and more are starting to dip their toes into the online world by embracing the new opportunities of social media. No doubt introduced and schooled by the children and grandchildren, baby boomers are slowly joining Facebook and Twitter, but probably aren’t ready for the likes of Instagram and Snapchat. 

Generation X

When they were born: Mid 1960s to early 1980s

Spending habits: When this generation was growing up, the world was deep in the midst of an economic recession. Money and jobs were harder to come by, so they’ve had to work a great deal harder than their parents in order to come close to their level of success. The amount of disposable income they have tends to be lower, and they prefer to save their money for a rainy day rather than splash out.

Marketing methods: Those from Generation X tend to have the loyalty of baby boomers but with increased scepticism. When it comes to making a decision, they rely heavily on informational content, third-party research and impartial reviews before deciding to purchase. When it comes to marketing to this generation, focus greatly on SEO and paid search results. This age group will pay attention to detailed buying guides, customer reviews and data-rich product comparisons that emphasise value and quality.

Social media: Generation X is made up of the 

man-person-cute-young-2133last group of people who grew up without phones and the internet,and while they have somewhat caught up with the tech, they’re still not as savvy as millennials. They prefer to use Facebook, maybe a bit of Twitter every now and then, but it probably isn’t a place they’d look to find new brands.

Email marketing wouldn’t go amiss when it comes to Generation X, but we’d steer clear of social media marketing for these guys and focus on SEO and PPC.


When they were born: Mid 1980s to mid 1990s

Spending habits: As you’ve probably guessed, millennials are incredibly confident with online shopping and much prefer it over any other method of shopping. They will share their opinions on products and experiences with companies online, and listen to recommendations of their friends and family, along with reviews, before buying anything. 

When compared to generations before them, millennials will often come across as less careful with their money. They much prefer satisfaction and experiences as opposed to financial security.


Marketing methods: The older generations like to joke that millennials have short attention spans, but the truth is that they’re just more used to consuming lots of snippets of information at once. The faster forms of social media will appeal to them most - more on this later.

Millennials hate being sold to, so your brand needs to focus on being honest, authentic and transparent. They will smell an advert masquerading as content a mile off, so your ultimate goal should be to help them, not sell to them. 

Finally, millennials love a bit of personalisation and customisation as it helps with authenticity, and they also have a soft spot for user generated content

Social media: You’ll probably already know this, but millennials much prefer to consume content and browse potential purchases on the go with their mobile phones, as opposed to a laptop or desktop. So make sure your website and content is fast and completely mobile-optimised if millennials are your target market. 

As the older generations join the likes of Facebook, millennials are tending to move away. They prefer quicker and more visual methods of social media like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and, more recently, TikTok.

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