Generally I’m not a fan of lumping people together in groups based on demographics, but I do understand that age does matter – in the form of generational segmentation.
Grouping consumers and employees by age or generation allows you to deliver nuanced, targeted messages that best connect with them. There’s a delicate balance at play here, though, and your audience may react negatively (or, not react at all) if you tilt your message too heavily in one generational direction or another.
We all must avoid the trap of stereotyping different generations. One size of message rarely fits all. Take me, for instance. A lady doesn’t reveal her age, but I’ll confess to being a member of Generation X. We’ve been called unhappy, cynical and ignored.
I don’t agree with these stereotypes at all, but I admit to being a bit skeptical of authority, to being a pragmatist when it comes to the workplace and to definitely preferring a hands-off management style. These traits fit some of my Gen X friends and co-workers, but certainly not all.
So, if you deliver a message in a cynical light, I’m not likely to respond. Deliver it electronically, and I’ll likely read it – but maybe not respond as quickly as a millennial. The key here, again, is the need for balance.
To communicate among multi-generational audiences, be aware of the nuanced differences while recognizing the many similarities we all share. You also can take advantage of these differences.
Christal Davis is the Business Process Manager for Atlanta’s ST!R Marketing and a regular guest of our “Women on Wednesdays” segment. Read more of her thoughts on multi-generational communications at the ST!R Marketing blog.