If you’ve been following us recently, you’ve heard about the concept of the Impulse Generation. If you’re new here, here’s a quick overview:

For years, marketers have relied on Generational Marketing, or age-based attributes, to target their audiences. Boston Digital is challenging this approach with the idea of the Impulse Generation.

The Impulse Generation establishes that we are all one, monolithic generation. Everyone — regardless of age, background, creed or education — has been reprogrammed by the web and mobile to share the same behavioral attributes:

  • Constant connectedness
  • Fast decision-making
  • Short attention spans
  • High expectations

Got it? Good.

But with all this talk about everyone being cut from the same cloth, it may have you wondering — is the Impulse Generation a rejection of targeted marketing? Is it arguing that everyone should be uniformly targeted, rather than segmented and hyper-targeted? We’re here to tell you that the answer is a resounding “no.”

The Birth of Better Targeting

The main shift that the Impulse Generation proposes is not one from hyper-targeting to no targeting, but from age-based marketing to behavior-based marketing. It encourages marketers to move from assumptions to facts.

For example, one of the most common generational assumptions is that Baby Boomers are not technologically savvy, preferring brick and mortar stores to the modern convenience of online shopping. This overgeneralization costs companies a great deal of time and money. In fact, many e-Commerce marketers ignore Boomers altogether due to this widespread myth.

However, when examining behavior first, we find that 92% of Boomers actually shop for products and services online versus traveling to a store. What’s more is that 74% would say they are digitally savvy and more than 80% use social media. 

By targeting based on the facts, rather than outdated assumptions, marketers have a better chance at engaging their target audiences, no matter their generation.

Why Every Generation Matters

If you’ve been thinking, “But Boomers don’t actually matter in marketing,” this one’s for you.

Another flaw of Generational Marketing is its tendency to tout the newest generation as the next best thing—the new supreme audience. First it was an obsession with Millennials, now it’s a fixation on Gen Z. This “newer is better” mentality teaches marketers that the youngest generations are the most lucrative. The problem is that this is far from the truth.

Research shows that Boomers are actually the ones with the most accumulated wealth. In fact, Boomers control 70% of disposable income in the U.S. and they spend an average of $2.9 trillion on products and services annually. Meanwhile, 75% of Millennials can only afford necessities, with little to no disposable income.

By targeting one generation to the exclusion of others, your company could be leaving thousands — or even millions — on the table. The predominance of younger generations in the marketplace is just another fallacy perpetuated by Generational Marketing.

The Impulse Generation: What About Targeting?

Broader Implications

By focusing on a single generational audience, it’s easy to lose sight of what actually matters — behavior. As we all continue to move toward a more device-driven lifestyle, the boundaries of age become blurred and the value of consumer behavior skyrockets.

Today, the focus needs to be on the psychology of driving engagement, not on the age of the consumer. So as you consider your marketing strategy and spend, factor that in. By providing content catered to the needs and desires of the holistic Impulse Generation, you’ll win in today’s crowded digital landscape. 



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