Baby boomers. Gen X. Gen Y. Gen Z. It is rare that a day goes by in employer branding without the generational speak. We’ve all seen the stats: “53% of hiring managers say it’s difficult to hire and retain millennials,” “boomers ranked the lowest when it comes to being adaptable,” and “81% of Gen X cited a desire for control over their work.” One article might say millennials are selfish, but a few clicks later we see the same trait describing baby boomers. It’s all generationally confusing.
Similar reports can be found in the digital world: “90% of Millennials are using smartphones,” “91% of Baby Boomers use one or more social media sites,” and the MTV generation, Gen X, are apparently stuck in the middle of it all crying out for more attention (that’s so like Gen X…).
As marketers, we are at risk of generation pigeon holing. Therefore, it is great to see demystifying campaigns are on the increase. Take Unilever, for example, with their #PutItRight campaign, giving millennials a digital soapbox to candidly talk about their generation. Additionally, Expedia launched the tongue-in-cheek #ExpediaInterns campaign, where two interns take travel questions from youngsters. As a millennial marketer myself (see, it is easy to fall into the generational labelling trap), I find these campaigns refreshing because they act as a stark reminder: although it is important to understand segmentation, not everyone fits into a generation tick box. They also remind us that whatever the latest report suggests, listening to and engaging with your audience is always key.
Greater transparency should come with access to the borderless digital world. Isn’t it time to stop with the generation gobbledygook and communicate on an age label-less basis? (Would millennials want to do this via Snapchat? Would baby boomers want it in print? Would Gen X want it all? I can’t remember the latest stats on this…)
This blog post was written by Cielo’s Emma Lucas. Connect with Emma on LinkedIn.