Marketers and the Multi-Generational Workforce

Last month we touched on the impact of 4IR in the workplace, specifically the Lump of Labour Fallacy, and how marketers can use the upskilling of their workforce (which is a necessary step to take in the wake of 4IR and automation) and turn it into content that will draw audiences closer to the brand.

The advancement of automation (machines doing tasks that humans usually do, leading to the need for upskilling and education in new technologies) is a megatrend – something that is changing worldwide and will affect all industries. It’s a movement that all professionals need to be aware of and there isn’t just one. Upskilling in preparation for Automation due to 4IR is just one megatrend.  Another trend that marketers, brand managers and SME owners need to be aware of is the Multi-Generational Workforce.

A cornerstone of marketing is knowing your audience.  For the first time in contemporary history, according to the GetSmarter FOW report, 5 generations are working side-by-side. Employees that are Millennials, Gen Z, Gen X, Baby Boomers and The Silent Generation are most likely sharing a workplace today – and that means that each of those generations are an audience to consider when marketing your brand.

The Silent Generation
Born between 1925 and 1944, this generation has stayed in the workforce for longer than expected due to the higher cost of retirement and longer life expectancy.  They are hardworking and diligent, respecters of rules and they value staying in line, rather than causing an uproar.  Even though technology is advancing quickly, this generation still values good ol’ ink and paper, so, including them, means not overlooking classic tactics like newspaper ads, direct mail and television ads.

Baby Boomers
Born between 1945 and 1964, this generation have spent their lives climbing the corporate ladder and now occupy the majority of the senior leadership or C-suite positions. This generation has historically been working hard – both in the workplace and to establish and grow their families – so they are looking to enjoy what they have earned. They were the first generation to experience television and since then, have needed to adapt to changing technology over and over again. They consume the most, so using a variety of traditional methods (print and TV) as well as some new technologies like email marketing and social media ads, can get your brand in front of as many Baby Boomer eyes as possible.

Gen X
Born between 1965 and 1979, this is the Middle Generation. They are juggling the most as they need to take care of their elder parents and their younger children. They are grounded and have strong family values and work ethic, so can be distrustful of corporate agendas. They don’t respond to marketing that is too “salesy” so be authentic with them. They use Facebook primarily to keep in touch with loved ones, so use this platform to gain entry into their world, but don’t disrupt it too much as they are educated and will be able to see through disingenuous tactics.

Born between 1980 and 1994, this generation is the most diverse and value uniqueness and self-expression. They are community driven, so will often rely on reviews from their peers or those who they respect when making buying decisions.  Endorsements or “crowd-sourcing” is a great tactic to connect with them. They are the creatives and multi-taskers of the workforce – content must be bold and stand out to immediately catch their attention. They also need information now, so make it easy for Millennials to engage with your product, link all your platforms and give them access. Everywhere they go, you must be there, too.

Gen Z
Born between 1995 and 2015, this generation is most likely to break from tradition – although it’s not really tradition to them. Their humour, attitudes and values might seem strange to others, but this is just their unique form of self-expression – something that marketers need to understand and use to connect with them. The unnerving thing about Gen Z is that the best way to market to them might not even be invented yet. While all other generations are relatively literate on most social media and tech devices, Gen Z jumps from one to the next, has mastered them all and is just itching for something new. They have not formed a tight community yet, so communication with them must focus on their uniqueness and their individual experience.  They are not so much about information, than they are about feeling – they embrace the moment and think later, so use that to your advantage.

Here’s how to communicate with each Generation:

Generation What

Why understanding Generations matters in the workplace

Ryan Jenkins

What is Generational Marketing

Eye On Tech

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