Monday Mornings with Madison

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September 2015

Marketing and Selling to Specific Generations – Part 5

In the crowded landscape of generations, Millennials – initially dubbed Generation Y — may be the most popular, examined and adored of any generational group in a long while. Millennials, the first group to live from birth-to-death in the technology age, are one of the largest and most noteworthy cohorts. Born roughly between 1981 to 2000, it’s estimated that there were approximately 80 million Millennials in the U.S. in 2012. That number is expected to continue growing due to immigration of large numbers of younger people into the country.

Although scrutinized ad nauseam by analysts, demographers and sociologists alike, few agree on what qualities and quirks Millennials have in common. In fact, very diverse opinions reign on what defines a Millennial and what attributes the generation shares. Perhaps that is because it is still early in the process. After all, Millennials currently range in age from 16 to 35 years old. The younger members of that generation are just now coming of age and being shaped by the economic, social, political and technological developments of the 21st century. So what do businesses need to understand to be able to create a Millennial-friendly sales experience and customer service approach? And what should businesses consider as they hire and manage employees from this generation? Continue reading

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Marketing and Selling to Specific Generations – Part 4

When it comes to how much information and insights there are about a generation, the size and uniqueness of the group matters. Behemoth generations get examined closely. Demographers, sociologists, industrial psychologists, advertising researchers, and business analysts all spend oodles of time compiling and parsing data about BIG generations. Because of their sheer size, the predilections, attitudes and actions of large generations have a profound impact on society. Similarly, generations that are conspicuously different from previous ones get a lot of media attention and scientific study simply because they stand out. This explains why the nearly 80 million Baby Boomers and the 75 million Millennials have been the media darlings for decades. Those generational groups are both large and distinctive.

Conversely, smaller and less notable generations get overlooked. Meet Generation X (born 1965 to 1980), the red-headed step-child of 20th century generations. Gen Xers, as they are commonly referred to, have been largely ignored by the population patrollers. As the name implies, they have been Xed out of the demographic spotlight. Born from 1965 to roughly 1980, this somewhat overlooked generation today ranges in age from about 35 to 50. That may very well be part of the problem. This ‘generation’ doesn’t cover the usual 18-20 year span of most generations. Gen Xers also aren’t young and trending or gray and retiring. Some might even argue that they haven’t really redefined society. For the media, this generation hasn’t delivered much in the way of fire, fuss, or freshness. In most of the ways we take stock of generations – their racial and ethnic makeup, political, social and religious values, economic and educational circumstances and technological engagement – Gen Xers are somewhat low-key, smack between adventurous abundant Boomers like Steve Jobs and Sir Richard Branson and the engaging, modish Millennials like Mark Zuckerberg. That said, although many businesses are fascinated with Millennials, it would be wiser to focus on the well-educated Generation X, especially since many companies are now led by Gen Xers.
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