During my first week of graduate business school I remember having a conversation that I have never forgotten. My group had been given a task: create a marketing plan for an appliance retail store. One of the first steps for any marketing plan is to define your target audience. Who are you selling to? I began engaging with another student about our target market and we were talking in circles. The definition of a “target market” was lost on him.
Theoretically maybe, but realistically that will never happen. It was important to convince him that our marketing resources would be better used targeting one demographic or group of people rather than, well, everyone.
So how to you know who to target and how do you divide the population in a way that is suitable for your needs? One way many organizations determine their target market is by using generational marketing. The past few years it has become trendy to label these different generational demographics with catchy names, like Gen Y or Gen X. Have you ever gotten confused when people are throwing these labels around?
Here’s a little cheat sheet that might help you:
Gen I: These are the children of the youngest boomers and are also called the Internet Generation or iGeneration. They are important because they are the first generation that has been born entirely in the internet era.
Gen Y: Also referred to as Millennials, they are the children of boomers born from about 1978 to 1994. They are 75 million strong and, because of their familiarity with computers, are very responsive to online marketing campaigns.
Gen X: Born between 1965 and 1977, this generation is sometimes overlooked because they followed the powerful and popular boomers. Still, their population is 44 million and they are entering their peak earning and buying years.
Boomers: The largest generation in America includes people born between 1946 and 1964. On average the 76 million individuals in this group spends about $400 billion more year than any other generation.
The Greatest Generation: Born between 1909 and 1945, this segment is more savvy than most people given them credit for. They care careful and deliberate when making buying decisions and want to know more about a company before doing business with them.
So, who is your target market? Do they fit neatly into one of the demographics outline above or does your marketing strategy need to overlap? What is the best way to effectively and efficiently reach your target market? Please share!
- Marketing to Millennials: demystifying a generation (agbeat.com)
- 12 Essential Facts about Millennials for Your 2012 Marketing Strategy (factbrowser.com)
- You Are a Target Market (thesandytongue.wordpress.com)
- What are characteristics of Gen Y? (essencetalent.wordpress.com)
- Entrepreneur.com: Know Your Target Market