We’re living at a time when there are four generations with buying power. Life expectancy has increased by five years, younger generations are seeking entrepreneurial positions that lead to increased incomes and, in “the age of the customer,” companies are striving to retain brand loyal customers. 

This has caused a rise in ‘Generational Marketing,’ which touts age-based, siloed targeting as the solution to reaching audiences in a meaningful way. This approach is spearheaded by traditional advertising companies that seek to hold on to the media spend. 

The problem with Generational Marketing is that it places an inordinate amount of emphasis on age, rather than behavior. This is troublesome at a time when all generations have come to expect fast access to information, goods, services and people. The internet feeds that need, as we all have been reprogrammed to use our smartphones and mobile devices to quickly search, browse, and identify what we seek in a matter of seconds. 

The Death of Generational Marketing

With this trans-generational behavior, it’s becoming more important than ever to focus on similarities between generations, rather than differences. For example, while a 17-year-old may be comparing colleges online, a 77-year-old might be looking for flights to a warmer destination. Even though they are looking for different products, services or places, they have mobile- and device-driven impulses.

It's time to challenge the status quo and shake up conventional thinking. We need to think of consumers as individuals with buying habits, not just members of a generation that fit into age ranges. 

We’re calling this new consumer demographic The Impulse Generation – a group unified by their attachment to the web and mobile, who are peppered by impulses daily and share common decision-making patterns. 

Targeting the Impulse Generation

It’s critical to effectively cater marketing to The Impulse Generation. They are not defined by their age group or any other demographic trend – rather, they are defined by their devices and the way they consume information online. 

The Death of Generational Marketing

And it’s equally crucial to form campaigns that cater to their individual content preferences – something digital is uniquely equipped to do. For instance, while some might prefer viewing visuals and infographics, others might like reading long lists or heavy text. Therefore, marketing initiatives need to adapt to variations in consumption behaviors. After all, if people can order food, read the news and call a friend – all on 3 mediums simultaneously with the click of a few buttons—why ever go back to something slower?

It’s also important to mention that The Impulse Generation applies to both B2B and B2C. Both areas should aim to influence the consumers who finalize the decisions – whether for themselves or for a business. To achieve this, marketers should amplify campaigns through a variety of marketing channels, target influencer networks and identify places where members of The Impulse Generation work, rest, and play. 

A Final Farewell to Generational Marketing

The internet has transformed the way people act, think, and behave – and mobile has amplified it. Therefore, we can no longer rely on generational assumptions to dictate marketing strategies. Rather, we must connect and interact with individuals as the digitally-defined group of consumers they have become.  

Web and mobile will continue to evolve, and it’s up to marketers to keep up with this evolution. This time, it means saying goodbye to generational marketing, with a warm welcome to The Impulse Generation

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