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September 9, 2016

Different Demographics, Different Decisions

You can have the best business idea in the world. But if you don’t know how to market your brand to the right demographic(s), you won’t go far. The digital age is in full swing and is here to stay. This has drastically changed the landscape of marketing. One of the biggest benefits of this revolution is that marketers are able to find out how different generations respond to different types of media through tracking and analytics.

Marketing tactics for Baby Boomers and Generation X was mastered long before the Internet took the world by storm. Now, one of the biggest challenges most businesses face is how to market to Millennials and beyond. Millennials make up the generation born between 1981 and 2000. This group comprises around 80 million consumers in the United States and is one of the most transitional generations in history. As Generation X and those before them adopted the Internet and digital media as adults, the Millennials grew up concurrently with the digital revolution. This reality forced marketing executives to throw out the old playbook and start from scratch.

The methods and selling points that worked for Baby Boomers and Generation X are proving to turn Millennial consumers away. Now, as Millennials are flooding the workplace and starting to accumulate wealth, companies everywhere need to look at their marketing techniques from different angles to see what makes this generation tick.

Although Baby Boomers still have the most disposable income making up about half of all retail sales, traditional media types that work on them will not be highly effective forever. Media types such as radio and television are creating leads, however, the older generation are adopting newer forms of media and becoming more and more receptive to digital marketing techniques.

Even though older generations are becoming more in tune with the digital world, they absorb content and media in vastly different ways than their younger counterparts. More than 70 percent of Baby Boomers are active on social media but instead of picture-based, interactive content, they tend to prefer more information based media. Forty-five percent of Baby Boomer users prefer to view content from a desktop while only 14 percent prefer a mobile device. This means they like to dedicate specific time to digital media rather than on-the-go.

Baby boomers prefer content that shows the big picture. For example, their desired genre revolves around world news and politics. From a business aspect, they like to know as much as possible about the brands and companies they buy from when doing research. This means businesses need to keep their “about” section up-to- date and full of valuable information to build trust with the older demographics. Statistically, Baby Boomers like text based-content and consume it mostly in the late morning hours when people are generally most alert. For a company to be successful, they need to be able to use digital media to speak their language and know what appeals to them.

On the other side of the spectrum, Millennials use similar digital media platforms but consume content in very different ways than older generations. Newspaper and radio are almost obsolete as most Millennials spend around 25 hours per week online usually browsing in the late evening. Young adults today are very social and 52 percent prefer mobile media consumption as opposed to desktop.

One of the most important insights marketers need to understand about Millennials is that they like to be engaged in the content they consume. They value the ability to share insights and opinions with other users. Being constantly exposed to a vast amount of information, digital natives are not known for long attention spans. Therefore, marketers need to know how to capture Millennial interest as quickly as possible with image-based content touting self-expression and individualization on a large scale.

Content channels that captivate Millennials need to be to-the-point and socially conscious. This requires revolutionary tactics that connect with them on an emotional level. The genres Millennials gravitate toward are typically entertainment and technology. Visual content and short blog posts around 300 words have proven to be the most effective for young adults. Companies today need to understand that Millennials are constantly connected and contribute to the digital revolution with every share, like, and comment.


All generations today use similar platforms to consume media. However, the generational gap is defined by the vastly different ways in which they consume content within these platforms. While the older generation typically devotes time to absorbing text-heavy pieces, Millennials tend to do so in smaller, visual doses. Overall, the most important factor in today’s marketing landscape is knowing how to position content in a way that effectively speaks to different demographics.


Rick Sliter is the president and CEO BioClarity. Previously Rick served as the chief brand management officer at Provide Commerce, as well as senior vice-president of marketing services at Provide Commerce, Inc. He holds an MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA, where he was awarded the Patrick J. Welsh Fellowship. At the University of California at San Diego he earned a BA in Quantitative Economics and Decision Studies.