Target Marketing to Five Generations at One Time

by Jay Joyce, President/CEO - Aug 30, 2018

If you’re still marketing to Millennials, GenX and Boomers in the traditional sense, then you need to get out of 1987. There’s a new marketing audience strategy that we uncovered and we really love it. We approach our client marketing campaigns with this strategy because it works and it makes sense. And, no, this isn’t an infomercial. After more research on it, we’re beginning to see this strategy more and more and we know it’s going to be a driving force on how marketers… market.

We held one of our crazy brainstorming Post-it Note sessions for the rebranding of a national retail company. As we were exercising ideas on who this new brand would attract, we discussed different products we loved and why. We started to take note that despite the different generations in the room —from Millennial to Baby Boomers, we had a lot in common, other than all being strange. We shared similarities for liking the product. But we also shared similarities in liking products that we termed "parallel," or that complemented the product we were rebranding. Breakthrough genius, we claimed!

"Speaking of different generations in one room, did you know that in today’s workplace, for the first time ever, there are five generations working together? Crazy, right?" - Tiffani Evans, The Idea People

We really felt like we were onto something that felt new and unchartered in marketing. So we investigated further with Google (because Google tells us everything), and through our research, we discovered that indeed, yes, we did uncover something new. Welcome to the ageless group Gina Pell coined, Perennials, “because age ain’t nothin’ but a number.”

Definition of per·en·ni·al: adjective lasting or existing for a long or apparently infinite time; enduring or continually recurring.

So we had a "term" for what we discovered: perennials. And we had a new frontier that we were eager to apply into the marketing strategy for this new retail client rebranding, along with other clients that targeted wider audiences. And we found that when we started to expand our age groups in our client’s advertising campaigns, we received on average 58% more impressions and the relevance score of our ads increased 50%. This resulted in whopping sales increases, new customer accounts and larger cart checkouts. Perennial marketing equals smarter targeting and better conversions.

Let’s take Netflix and Amazon for example. Two global retail and digital powerhouses. The heavy hitter companies today are wildly successful because they’re leading the charge and moving mountains in their industries. They’re not sitting around waiting to see the next trend; they are the next trend. Netflix suggests shows to you not based on your age but based on your viewing history. They are even predicting what you may want to watch. And it has nothing to do with Alexa or Google Home listening to your conversations.

We think this large shift to marketing to an "ageless group" probably has something to do with five generations working together for the first time. And it can also be a result of the easy access to social media. Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat (RIP) and Twitter (slowly RIP’ing) all allow us to communicate instantly and whenever we want from wherever we want. And we don’t want to hear, “back in my day we actually talked in person.” Hello perennials.

Sadly, there are still a LOT of products and services geared to Millennials and not to our friends in their 40s, 50s, 60s and above. Especially women in their 40s, which is crazy because women in their 40s consider themselves to be in the prime of their lives. These women feel as vibrant and young as ever. We think it is attributed to the shift toward body positive campaigns that Dove and L’Oréal have adopted. And these women are typically the ones in the house who make purchasing decisions and consider themselves to have a younger attitude than their mother’s generation at the same age. Today’s 40+ women have a lot in common with their daughters. They share shopping and eating experiences together more than ever. Hello perennials.

Here's some proof. My mom, my aunt, my younger cousin, my grandma and I are all obsessed with Kate Spade. Together we make up five different generations and five completely different times we all grew up. And when Kate Spade tragically passed away, we all bought the same beach bag to remember her. Her wildly successful brand has something for everyone and even features women of all different ages in her advertising campaigns.

Kate Spade spring perennial campaign featuring Iris Apfel and Karlie Kloss.

We love this one with Laura Dern as she shares a love letter that she would write to herself, "Girl, just let it go. It's fine. You're doing the best you can. I think if I really could write this love letter to myself it'd be very cut and dry: You got this, Dern." And another campaign featuring 93-year-old Iris Apfel with 22-year-old Karlie Kloss (in photo above) by making style acceptable at any age and universal.

Perennial L'Oreal campaign featuring Helen Mirren from The Idea People in Charlotte.

Let’s dive into a new campaign from L’Oreal. This makeup and skincare giant developed a campaign (in photo above) featuring Helen Mirren who looks directly at the camera and says confidently, “We’ve still got it and we’re still worth it.” There’s a positive shift in the marketplace and one we should all take note.

Even Allure magazine made a pledge that they would phase out the word ‘anti-aging’ from their articles.

Can we all agree that it’s time to stop being so obsessed with age groups [demographics]? It’s antiquated and it’s from the Mad Men Era (don’t get me wrong, I love that show.) We think if you try this strategy with your team by marketing to tastes and interests, rather than by segmented age groups, you will probably be pleasantly surprised at the results.

If you need assistance with your marketing planning, rebranding or strategy, please call Jay Joyce here at The Idea People at 704-398-4437 or email Our marketing team will think and create from different approaches to give you a new marketing strategy based on people and purchasing trends instead of random demographics. And we will definitely talk with you about implementing perennial marketing into your overall strategy.

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