From Boomers to Millennials–Communicating in a Digital World

From Boomers to Millennials–Communicating in a Digital World

MarCom New Media prides itself on avoiding cookie cutter marketing and PR solutions like the plague. In today’s segmented world, one size no longer fits all. Communications in the digital world involves a multi-layered and integrated approach, for many reasons. Here’s why.


Different Strokes for Different Folks

You don’t have to go any further than music to see the big divide in interests and life perspectives between generations—from Baby Boomers through Millennials. Music has transitioned from Frank Sinatra to Elvis to The Beatles to Elton John to The Bee Gees to Michael Jackson to Mariah Carey to Rihanna, and so it goes.

The U.S. population is now commonly segmented into four segments:  Baby Boomer; Gen X, Millennials and Generation Z. While remarkably similar in size, each of these audience segments is completely different in beliefs, life experiences, and how they like to get information. Within each of these generations are sub-generations with their own characteristics, not to mention the regional differences that affect each one.

Marketing professionals are forever defining our target audiences in order to better understand how to communicate with them. The baby boomers (1946 to 1964) are now in their fifty’s and sixty’s, and there is Generation X (1965-1980), Generation Y (1977-1994) and the Millennials (1980-2001) who are now between 18 and 34 years of age. Generation Z (1995-2012) will be coming of age from 2013 to 2020, and we don’t know as much about this group yet.

While most of the living generations pay attention to online news sites, newspapers, radio and television, most of the 80 million millennials prefer to infiltrate social networks, and usually from their mobile devices. It turns out that the Millennials consume information in much different ways than previous generations. Their paths to discovery and content they consume are also quite varied; visual, graphic, concise, and integrated. Unlike their predecessors, Millennials don’t consume news in given times – like watching the 6:00 p.m. evening news, but rather their news consumption is woven into a continuous digital feed of both news and social media interaction.

Translating Marketing Messaging 

At MarCom New Media, one of the first things we want to understand when we meet a new client is their target audiences. Who are they trying to sell their product or service too? How can we reach them, and with what messages? Also, what mediums will we use? Once we have defined these targets it makes it much easier to come up with creative campaigns.

Ever-Evolving Media Platforms 

There are tons of media to choose from traditional outlets (print, radio, billboards, direct mail, TV, etc.) to a number of digital or online platforms such as blogging, content marketing, or pay per click (PPC) and mobile platforms including click-to-call. Within these media groups are different delivery methods:  classified ads, display ads, radio/TV spots, re-targeting ads, native advertising, product placements, social media, and more.  Each media platform has its own demographic: Baby Boomers are more likely to watch the news on TV; Millennials are more likely to get their news through Snapchat, Instagram or the Internet. But, not all Baby Boomers get their news from ABC, and not all Millennials get their news exclusively from social media.

Influencers are Here to Stay 

Most of us have seen the popular show, Mad Men, set during early 60’s. Back then, publicists, or PR professionals, were called to influence the media after the marketing and advertising strategies were in place. Today public relations strategies are integrated into the strategic marketing campaign early on, and the tactics involve much more than simply calling the press from a phone booth. From researching the target media and influencers, to developing key messages, preparing press materials, graphics and then doing media relations, and developing social media tactics, public relations and social media have expanded into essential strategies to target and influence multiple audiences of all ages.

Just as social media helps influence target audiences, and can be essential to branding, PR offers quantitative and qualitative results; meaning we can measure how many people read the press we get, and we can measure what messages were conveyed by the media.

The good news is that we no longer need to guess which campaigns deliver the best results. Digital marketing offers accurate analytics to measure any campaign, and we are always tweaking campaigns for maximum results.  If it doesn’t work, we toss it.

Overall, there is one trend that cuts across generations, media and delivery methods—the marketing messages that work are the ones that deliver information creatively rather than try to sell something. This affects all avenues of marketing and is central to the approach MarCom New Media takes on behalf of its clients.

If you’d like us to take a look at your business to see what we can do to help reach your target market and better communicate with them in today’s digital world, simply email, or call323-650-2838.

Sources: Inside the Habits of America’s Digital Generation; Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs; March 2015

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