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How Messaging Targets Specific Generations

Messaging and the written word have always been critical components of marketing campaigns. In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world where information is not only exchanged all over the world, but multiple messages reach audiences simultaneously through various channels – Twitter, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google +, etc. – messaging is the most critical component for a successful marketing campaign.

Many of the bestselling authors, business gurus and top social media influencers, including Gary Vaynerchuck, Seth Godin, Bill Gates and others, have said time and time again: “Content is King.” It’s never been truer.

Messages must be crafted and tailored to their intended, specific, target audiences, but they also must

• Appeal to positive emotions
• Demonstrate fact-based logic 
• Tap into customers’ value drivers
• Be specific. What do you want someone to think, feel and do?
• Include a clear Call to Action (CTA).

Different generations have different value drivers, different behavioral attributes and different ways they want to receive information. Here’s a quick chart to help you target your messages to specific generations.  

THE GENERATION

MESSAGE DEVELOPMENT

The Silent Generation

(52M; born 1925-1945; median age 71; achievers, leaders, influential, hard working)

 

  • Show them how far we have come together
  • Develop understanding of continuity with the past
  • Get endorsements
  • Respect and ask for their contribution

The Baby Boomers

(78M; born 1946-1964; median age 53; optimistic, moralistic, educated, team-oriented, passionate, self-developing)

  • Encourage them to take responsibility
  • Demonstrate passion and self-defining moments
  • vercome social threats

Generation X

(66M; born 1965-1979; median age 36; balanced, self-reliant, skeptical, entrepreneurial, savvy, efficient)

  • Let them be in the driver’s seat
  • Show benefits of cooperation
  • Be transparent
  • Tell family life/balanced stories

The Millennial Generation

(86M; born 1980-1996; median age 20; ambitious, authentic, collaborative, civic-minded, self-confident/vain, high energy)

  • Give back, make a difference
  • Come together; work with others (show people having fun)
  • Tell stories (social media); spotlight peer achievers

Christina Motley is a published, award-winning writer and content developer.  She has written for virtually every channel and medium. Her work has earned 200+ awards from national trade associations and peer organizations for not only creativity, but most importantly for engaging audiences and producing desired business results. Follow her on Twitter @christinamotley., connect with her on LinkedIn, or email for a free consultation.  

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Christina Motley

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As a strategic, integrated marketing executive, award-winning content developer, former journalist and published author, Christina Motley, Chief Marketing Officer & Gap Eradicator, has a career record for exceeding business goals for clients. She has published hundreds of articles and been interviewed and quoted in regional, national, and international publications, and daily newspapers. Connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/christinamotley/ and follow her on Twitter @christinamotley.

6 Responses to “How Messaging Targets Specific Generations”

By John O'Connor - 15 March 2012 Reply

This is really good stuff. It’s kind of hard to believe in the generations but after doing some reading of experts like Cam Marsten and listening to talks by Tim Moore I really think some of these seeming generalities fit and fit nicely. Thanks for connecting this to messaging.

Christina Motley
By Christina Motley - 15 March 2012 Reply

Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment John. Glad you find value and would welcome a guest blog!

By Dennis Lockard - 22 March 2012 Reply

This is a helpful chart. I’m currently involved in some segmentation work, and the new data we are getting is helping drive the message along with dictating the best avenues for delivery of said messages.

Also, is there a new generation name after Millennial? Seems I have read that somewhere…

Christina Motley
By Christina Motley - 22 March 2012 Reply

Thanks Dennis for reading and taking the time to comment! Glad to share helpful information.

By Maurene Caplan Grey - 2 July 2012 Reply

I’d add that transparency is equally important when messaging to Baby Boomers, who “came of age” during the revolutionary 1960s.

Engagement relies on an ever-deepening trust relationship. The recipient complies with the CTA–and, more importantly, advocates the CTA to others. To your point, the communicator must be fluent in generational-speak.

Christina Motley
By Christina Motley - 10 July 2012 Reply

Thanks Maurene for your valuable thoughts!

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