Marketing to Different Generations: Baby Boomers vs Gen X

“This is the 500th post of Branding & Marketing”

Everyone knows that there are differences between Baby Boomers and Gen X as consumers and in their buying, spending, and saving habits. Business to business companies have to market their business to potential employees and there is a significant difference in what you stress as features and benefits if you’re marketing to someone who is a Baby Boomer (1946-1964) or someone from Generation X (1964-1978).

If you’re trying to market your products, services, or business to either or both the Baby Boomers and Generation X, take 5 minutes to view Karen McCullough’s videos about the differences of the generations in the work place.

Karen McCullough: Generation X:

Karen McCullough: Baby Boomers:

Karen’s a branding expert and speaker with a strong background in the fashion industry. Although she lives in Texas, I met her several years ago when she came to Ohio to speak about branding. Her message is right on target and her enthusiasm and energy make it really fun to listen and learn from her.

Related Posts:

Rebranding: Fast, Faster, Fastest

Looks like AT&T can’t wait to make the switch. This from Alice Z. Cuneo at Ad Age:

Two rebranding campaigns
To back the changes, AT&T plans two rebranding campaigns. The first scales back the Cingular name from AT&T’s marketing vocabulary and carries the tagline “Wireless from AT&T, formerly Cingular.” That line replaces the phrase “Cingular is now the new AT&T.” Omnicom Group’s GSD&M, Austin, Texas, handled the effort.

The second ad effort repositions wireless as part of a bundled telecommunication service that will go head to head with cable companies under the tagline “Your world is wireless. AT&T is wireless,” also from GSD&M. The over-arching tagline remains “Your world. Delivered.”

If you don’t have a budget the size of AT&T’s I think it would make more sense to wait a few weeks, months in between. Even six months may make sense for your business, depending upon how well entrenched the original brand name is and how often your consumers and customers see the commercials and messages.
Here are other posts that talk about the brand formerly known as Cingular:

  • From the Apple Phone Show: Cingular is the New AT&T:
    AT&T has also worked feverishly to rebrand all existing Cingular stores with AT&T logos so that customers will have no doubt that it’s AT&T who has partnered with Apple to deliver the iPhone, not Cingular.
  • From Open IT Strategies: Jack is Dead — (referring to the orange jacks symbol): Like other carriers, Cingular’s marketing and growth seem targeted at teenagers — i.e., kids born in 1988 or later. The Bell System died in 1984, and since then AT&T has just been a has-been long distance company. How many teenagers know or care about Ma Bell?
  • Wonder how many people born 1988 or later purchase their own phone plans? (18 or 19 years old today and younger). This is an extremely important market for consumer products in the coming years — the next baby boom that peaked in 1991 and those kids are turning 16 this year. And while this baby boom group matches the older baby boom for size, they are much more of a force of consumers than the older baby boom group was at that age!

    Interesting Trend for Marketers on the Web – Don’t Discount the Baby Boomers

    Here’s some food for thought for marketers. The Internet may be one of the best ways to reach the baby boomers.

    Granted, everyone knows that Generation Y (or the Millenniums as I recently heard them called) are heavy Internet users. But how many assume that most people over 50 aren’t on the Internet?

    (Maybe you say, “who cares”? Only folks 18-35 are really spending money. Or 25 – 40 years old. Maybe each one is spending more than the baby boomers, but the shear number of baby boomers makes it a demographic that is dangerous to ignore. But that’s a different discussion.)

    According to the Pew Internet reports (update 2009)

    Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the “Net Generation,” internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people).

    Couple this with the shear number of baby boomers, marketers really can’t ignore this demographic on the Internet. Some marketers view the baby boomers as a shrinking market, but really the marketers need to find ways to adjust their offerings to match the market, not sell more of what they have been doing in the same way they have always done it.

    That’s a manufacturing mentality, not a marketing mentality.