Say Hello to Baby Boomers and Gen X and Gen Y
We have recently written two articles on marketing to baby boomers and thoughts from the Gen Y Generation. These categories of people are now part of common speak but they are not absolutes and in this article we approximate. I am part of the Baby Boomer generation and it is perfectly possible for Baby Boomers to be tech-savvy as I hope I am. I am an avid Facebook and Twitter user and when I can I dress casually to work. There are other overlaps in certain areas, particularly with people born on the borders of a generation handover. However, the general traits exhibited by each group will be familiar when applied to staff within your organisation,your prospects and customers. Understanding their quirks, likes and dislikes will help business leaders be more effective when managing these groups and make your marketing campaigns more targeted.
Baby Boomers are the post-war children, born between 1943 and 1960. Baby Boomers were born in harsher, more restrictive times. Baby Boomers are characterised by either their early experiences of rationing or the post-war austerity of their parents, and view the workplace in terms of career jobs which they expect to hold for many years. Baby Boomers probably had one black and white television at home. Baby Boomers are comfortable with manual working methods and hard work, but need to focus on one task at a time, which they like to follow to its conclusion. They expect a level of commitment and job security from their employers, and are driven as much by a sense of duty and pride to do a good job as by their salaries. Smart work clothing is essential, as is being early for shifts. Baby Boomers rarely complain about their work load or other members of staff.
Baby Boomers v Generation X
Born between 1961 and 1981, GenX have strong ties to the Baby Boomers, but grew up in more prosperous times. As children, this generation were busy playing outside with their friends – home was a place for dinner and sleep. They share a sense of respect and duty similar to their older counterparts, and also prefer to keep home and work separate. However, they are more comfortable using technology even though their lack of formative education in IT means that most are self-taught or have developed their skills in the workplace. They had a colour TV at home, and probably more than one. They can be known as “techno-immigrants‟. When researching projects and ideas, they dig deep and are thorough in their investigations. This group will report problems they see to managers, but are unlikely to be overly critical or pushy. In terms of employment, this group realises that jobs for life are rare, but still thinks in five-to-ten year blocks. Holiday, pay rises, bonuses and sense of working for a successful company help drive these people.
Baby Boomers v Generation Y
These technnology-natives were born between 1982-2000 and grew up with laptops at home and at school and have less in common with Baby Boomers. Consequently, GenY believes anything is possible with technology, and will use all available resources to teach themselves the skills which they require. Their childhoods were less outdoor orientated than previous generations, with the proliferation of technology in the home contributing to families increasingly spending their time in separate rooms, meaning that work and friends are often deemed more important than relatives. Generation Y tell managers if they are unhappy with anything. The line between work and home is blurred. Leaving university owing tens of thousands of pounds and faced with the apparent futility of meeting the debt many take the short term view and treat money as a disposable commodity. This carefree attitude carries into the workplace which has become a place to be with friends, not to earn money. Information is gathered by skimming and grabbing knowledge from friends through social networking and community forums. Multi-tasking is second nature, which also means that attention spans are short. GenY members know what they are worth, and treat each job as a stepping stone to the next stage in their career, with acquisition of new skills and experiences as important to them as earning more money.
How are you targeting these different categories? Do you approach Baby Boomers differently?