Instead of looking at any market as one big monolith with uniform characteristics, it helps for the marketer to break it down into segments that share similar characteristics. In marketing, market segmentation involves dividing a broad consumer or business market, which typically consists of existing and potential customers, into sub-groups of consumers based on some type of shared characteristics.
There are several common segmentation strategies including Demographic, Geographic, Psychographic, Behavioural, Contextual and Situational. These broad bases can be further segmented into more specific sub-segments. One popular sub-segment of the Demographic segment is Age.
A popular approach to Age segmentation often considered, is Generational segmentation, where a generation is defined as “a cohort of people born within a similar span of time (15 years at the upper end) who share a comparable age and life stage, and who were shaped by a particular span of time (events, trends, and developments).”
In Generational segmentation the population is divided by analysing a population into cohorts based on their birth date. Generational segmentation assumes that people have values and attitudes that are shaped by the key events that occurred during their lives, and brand and product preferences arise from them.
Although Generational segments vary between countries, and marketers in general, in terms of the demarcated time periods, marketers segment markets by age according to the following groupings. Please bear in mind that there is a huge United States slant in these classifications and these representations need to be adjusted from country to country.
Characteristics: Baby boomers grew up in a period of economic growth post-war time. They have the most purchasing power and high discretionary power, due to their age and time in the workforce. For a significant part of the lives of Baby Boomers, technology has been absent. They have however embraced technology through the use of social media, mobile devices and online shopping.They are driven by good deals, and can be loyal to brands from which they buy.
Marketing strategies: It is best to reach this group through traditional advertising, such as print, radio and TV. They are thrilled by loyalty programs that drive customers towards in-store purchases and in-person interactions, and social media, as an entry point into brand or product research and easy online shopping.
Most responsive to: Customer service and simplistic and easy-to-understand content.
Characteristics: Growing up in a recession period, Gen X is the smallest generation. They are cautious with money, and are more sceptical of brands. This generation is highly resistant to change and innovation, and tends to stick with what they know. Gen Xers respond well to nostalgia, word of mouth, and reviews from other users. They have also had modern technology for a good part of their lives.
Marketing strategies: Traditional advertising, loyalty programs, word of mouth, email and social marketing, and incentives, such as discounts, freebies and coupons.
Most responsive to: Honest and clear messaging, clear paths to purchasing, email marketing campaigns, customer service, offers and social media.
Characteristics: Millennials (also known as Generation Y), were the first generation to grow up with modern technology. It is the largest generation in history, therefore a marketing strategy targeting this group must cater to a wider audience, in order to build a large customer base.
Millennials place importance on authentic brand messaging and seek out brands that support social and environmental causes. This generation relies on user-generated content, and the value of word-of-mouth advertising. They prefer brands that offer lower prices rather than price drops from offers and deals.
Marketing strategies: Multichannel, user-generated content, influencer marketing, social media marketing and content marketing.
Most responsive to: Brands that support causes, social media marketing, reviews, honest brands, price-to-value ratio and digital marketing.
Characteristics: This is the most diverse generation, and the most tech-savvy. Despite many in this generation being still young, they hold a large amount of spending power. Gen Z values financial stability because of the stress they experience surrounding personal debt.
They rely heavily on reviews and recommendations through social media more than other generations, and engage with brands who use social selling techniques. Gen Zers are also less likely to sign up for loyalty programs, despite looking for ways to save money.
Marketing strategies: Influencer marketing, reviews, videos, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, mobile interactions, and social selling and advertising.
Most responsive to: Testimonial and influencer marketing, short videos, social and economic causes, and apps on smartphones.
As a marketer (and everyone in business should qualify here), you have to be conscious of your target market when engaging, and marketing on social media platforms. The characteristics of each age group segment are different, and therefore require a different approach to marketing.
Each age group and segment requires a different approach in all respects, from the budget considerations, to messaging, as well as platform used. For instance, you should not market high value items to the Gen Z crowd, because they usually do not have their own money, although they have high influence on their parents who will likely foot the bill.
With the same understanding: if you are trying to reach Gen Xers, you will have a hard time succeeding, if you focus your social media marketing on Tik Tok. People in their 40s are not generally on, or active on Tik Tok, unless for marketing and other unsavoury reasons.
People in their 40s that find Tik Tok appealing are generally and merely consuming and not creating or participating on the platform in a highly meaningful way. You will have better luck reaching Millennials on Facebook and Instagram but are in luck on Tik Tok, if your product or service caters to teens or people in their early 20s and younger.
When marketing on social media, pay particular attention to which age group your marketing message is targeting, and craft the right tone of message that resonates with that group. You should be conscious of their financial dispositions, and make sure you use the right channel or platform. You should understand what drives and motivates each age group. And if you are using social media, please use the platform that is appropriate to the age group you are marketing to.
For instance, at Webmobyle and at the time of writing this blog post, our present target market is in the Gen X and Millennials category. As such we have an active social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube. Although we have an eye on Tit Tok, the age demographics on this platform are at this point too young to be our clients, but we are keeping an eye on the platform as this group matures and transitions into adult life.
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