When you market to multiple generations, are you aware of their differing needs and desires? Even if you don’t always have the resources to target each one separately, it’s helpful to know what you’re dealing with when engaging them individually or in homogeneous groups.

Epsilon’s new study, Age Matters: A Guide to Cross-Generational Marketing – How to adapt your marketing to the Silent Generation, Gen Z and everyone in between, gives us insights into what works for each generation.

Here are the defining characteristics of each generation:

(Based on the study with some additional statistics from Lablogatory and Dr. Jill Novak, University of Phoenix, Texas A&M University)

Gen Z (born 1994–2000)

Image: Experiences, tech, selfies, influencers/celebrities, phone integration, care about their health, independent, open-minded, determined, have an entrepreneurial spirit, loyal, compassionate, feel unsettled and a level of professional insecurity

Millennials (born 1983–1993)

Survival: Convenience, affordability, tech for efficiency and savings, rely on reviews, prefer shopping online, privacy aware, resilient, optimistic, creative, want to learn and improve what they do

Gen X (born 1964–1982)

Forgotten: Big spenders, at height of careers/income, open to tech, active on social, privacy aware, brand loyal, rely on reviews, street smart, change careers often, independent, flexible, can easily adapt to new circumstances, entrepreneurial

Boomers (born 1943–1963)

Active spenders: Approaching retirement, have money to spend, still young enough to spend, premium brands, traditional TV viewers, team-oriented attitude, driven, optimistic, often willing to learn how to use technology

Silents (born before 1943)

Pragmatic: Selective spenders, priorities have shifted, enjoying life, less spend volume because there are fewer of them, old-time morals, safety, security, traditional

The Pew Research Center has slight variations in generational birth years.

The one generation many omit is “The Greatest Generation” or GI Generation, which is waning and not top-of-mind to most marketers. In the 2017 US Census, there were 6.5 million people 85+ living in the USA. To reach this generation, marketers typically target their children and caregivers.

GIs (born between 1901 and 1926)

Community-minded: Assertive and energetic do’ers, avoid debt, strong loyalty, strongly interested in personal morality, near-absolute standards of right and wrong (Dr. Jill Novak, University of Phoenix, Texas A&M University)

Here’s a visual chart that includes the major events that each generation has experienced, affecting their characteristics.

Sarah Morgan, InTouch Solutions

The following two infographics should prove valuable to both business and nonprofit marketers:

As always, marketing requires learning as much as you can about your prospects and customers. Understanding generational differences should help guide you when you’re writing for, and engaging with them.