It’s Your Business: Putting generations into a marketing perspective

Joe Smith

Special to The Record

Whatever your business, it is essential to understand today’s generational differences in order to effectively communicate with younger or older audiences.

Never before in the history of marketing has there been such a wide range of consumer demographics and a variety of tactics needed in order to entice people to pay attention to what you are selling.

For example: as a marketer, do you know whether your customers fall within the Baby Boomer crowd, the newer generations of X, Y and Z, or those labeled as the Silent Generation?

While difficult to go into detailed analysis of each group (and their sub-groups) in one column, there are some key characteristics that can be identified to point you in the right direction.

Demographically, the Silent Generation represents people born between 1927 and 1945. These folks represent about 10 per cent of residents in the Comox Valley. Generally conservative, it is essential to earn their trust and prove you have something they really value. They likely rely on traditional mass media for information.

Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) make up the next generational group. Boomers are the largest consumer sector and control about 70 per cent of all disposable income. They are more tech-savvy than expected, aren’t quite ready to think of themselves as ‘aging’ and generally want to lead an active lifestyle. Marketing to them requires a broader multi-channel strategy.

Following the Boomers is Generation X, which includes those born between 1965 and 1976. The stereotype of a typical “X-er” can be classified as financially responsible, family oriented, somewhat self-reliant and looking for transparency. If you can reflect these values in your message, you’ll make a connection.

While they started off life classified as Generation Y, people born between 1977 and 1995 are now commonly referred to as Millennials. Building relationships plays an important role in their daily lives and social media platforms are likely the best way to reach them.

People born from 1996 onwards have been labeled iGen and Centennials but are now often referred to as Generation Z. By 2020 they will account for nearly 40 per cent of all consumers. They know the power of technology and don’t care what you are selling, but instead, what you can do to help them. You’ll need to capture their attention in eight seconds or less — likely through their mobile devices.

Our challenge as marketers is to clearly distinguish which generation(s) our products appeal to. Do we create communication strategies that reach out to just one group, or do we need plans that can build bridges to help us connect with multiple generations?

One encouraging research report indicates that people of all age demographics are becoming increasingly multi-platform, so reaching everyone should become easier as time goes by.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at

Just Posted

Comox Valley Ground Search & Rescue kept busy across the province

CVGSAR had a busy week, sending rescuers as far away as Invermere

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Glacier View residents take a ride on the river

Ground Search and Rescue guides floaters on Puntledge

Brewing up some community engagement

Insp. Tim Walton says goodbye to the Comox Valley

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

B.C. swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights are misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Most Read