MNI Blog  /  5 minute read

Generational Research: How to Close the Marketing Gap

Learn generational differences in values, habits, and demographics, to form genuine connections with consumers of all ages.

Generational research is fundamental to understanding who consumers are, what they value, and why they think and act the way they do. MNI Targeted Media is an insights and strategy group, a national advertising, technology, and data company. We anticipate trends so companies are primed for what’s happening now and next.

With the holidays just around the corner, we’re starting our season of giving with advent emails. Every day this week we’ll be emailing tidbits on select cohorts to further connections between brands and consumers.

Match The Statistic To The Generation.

1. Which generation has the most buying power?

  • Baby Boomers
  • Gen X
  • Millennials
  • Gen Z
  • Gen Alpha
Millennials’ spending power is $2.5 trillion, and they spent more in 2021 than in 2020.
Influencer Marketing Hub

2. One in six adults in this generation identifies as LGBQT. Can you guess who?

  • Baby Boomers
  • Gen X
  • Millennials
  • Gen Z
  • Gen Alpha
Gen Z. According to a recent Gallup poll, 12% of all Gen Z adults identify as bisexual, and about 2% each identify as gay, lesbian or transgender.

3. Which generation is 19% more likely to share content online?

  • Baby Boomers
  • Gen X
  • Millennials
  • Gen Z
  • Gen Alpha
Baby Boomers share more content online than any other generation, especially on Facebook. Surprised? Us too.
Digital Trends

4. 68% of this generation is concerned about the direction of the U.S. Is it yours?

  • Baby Boomers
  • Gen X
  • Millennials
  • Gen Z
  • Gen Alpha
The majority of Gen Z feels the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Business Insider

5. Which generation shares the closest parent/child bond?

  • Baby Boomers
  • Gen X
  • Millennials
  • Gen Z
  • Gen Alpha
88% of Gen Alphas agree “I am friends with my parents.”




Which generation has a 75% increase in cannabis usage? 

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

Meet the generation that saw the Civil Rights Act, the Vietnam War and the first moon landing. Are you really surprised that cannabis usage has increased by 75% in this cohort from 2015-2018? It’s more likely to do so since the pandemic and legalization.

While many brands are obsessed with appealing to Millennials and desperate to get social love from Gen Z, it’s the Baby Boomers who control more that 70% of the national’s disposable income. And, as the saying goes, you can’t take it with you. Since many of this cohort are now entering post-career lives, indulging grandchildren, and taking bike trips through Europe, you may want to give them a bit more love.

Tips For Marketing To Baby Boomers:

Digitally Savvy

Baby Boomers prefer to shop online via computers and laptops as opposed to phones and tablets.

Take Their Time to Buy

Boomers consider purchase as a commitment. They read the fine print and get into the nitty gritty so clear messaging is essential.

Primed for SEO

96% of Boomers use search engines, making them a prime target for SEO efforts.

Wary of Privacy Concerns

While re-targeting is an effective strategy, it puts Boomers on edge. They’ll respond better to shopping & Google search ads.

Detailed, Informative content drives results

Boomers prefer in-depth sources without concern for the time it takes to review

Want more?
E-Book: The Guide to Advertising Without Third Party Cookies  |  Blog: How to Market Cannabis to Different Generations



Who was the first generation to grow up with a PC?

Gen X (1965-1980)

It seems fitting that we’re exploring Gen X on a Wednesday. Sandwiched between Baby Boomers and Millennials too often this cohort doesn’t get the attention it deserves. We’re going to change that.

Gen X were the original latch-key kids (i.e., children hanging out at home without grown-up supervision after school since both parents were often working. Their childhood coincides with the emergence of the personal computer, and yet tech usage in their formative years was minimal compared to others. The end result?

  • In their highest-earning years and on their way to reaching the top of their profession.
    Gen X is financially stable. Ignoring them means missing a demographic that has impressive influence over both household and company decisions.
  • Their famous self-reliance has made them awesome DIY’ers.
    Gen X has a hands-on approach to problem solving around the house.
  • Value Authenticity
    Gen X (as a whole generation) has seen the moon landing, the Cold War, the Y2K scare, and everything in between. They’ve also seen a lot of ads and been the target of a lot marketing, which means authentic brand messaging is very important.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Gen X outspends all other generations when it comes to housing, clothing, eating out and entertainment.

Tips for Marketing to Generation X:

Brand Loyalty and Love

Rewards programs and email marketing that includes personalized offers and coupons are winning strategies.

Mobile Experience

Fans of a mobile-friendly site

Go Nostalgic

Gen X love nostalgia. Incorporate old songs or childhood memories into your content marketing efforts for this generation. A good message in a magazine may win their hearts.




What Defines A Millennial?

Millennials (1981-1996)

Generation Me and The Peter Pan Generation are a couple of names they’ve been called. As the oldest millennials begin entering their 40s and economic realities hit, what they wouldn’t give to go back to the days when they could stumble out of bed and watch an episode or two of Arthur or Rugrats.

Growing up, millennials felt the impact of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Just as they were entering the workforce, they were impacted by the 2008 recession. Many are still running catchup. When marketing to millennials, respecting their life-stage and value system goes a long way in forging connections.

Marketing Considerations

Don’t Make Assumptions

Don’t assume you know them, understand them, or appreciate their needs. Take the time to listen. Make strategic decisions based on what you learn.

Offer Purpose

Millennials have clear ideas of what they want and don’t want. They have incredible focus when their attention is caught and can smell disingenuous messaging from a mile away. Authenticity, social consciousness, real, raw, and relevant conversations are the way to connect.

Tips for Marketing to Millennials

User Generated Content is Key

Customer shared photos and online communities are the most effective approaches.

Embrace the Mobile-First Mindset

The phone is never far from most millennials, and they use if for just about everything so embrace search tactics when you want their attention.

Want more? Blog: Millennials as Consumers of Media

Name that Tune: Gen Z Edition

Gen Z (1997-2015)

Understanding Gen Z is a must if marketers want to tap into their enormous influence and spending power. The first thing to know is don’t label them-see them solely as a cohort and not as individuals at your peril. Goal oriented, confident, and self-motivated are defining characteristics but since the pandemic, Gen Zs have also discovered that while success is nice, it’s not everything. Self-care is most important.

Tips for Marketing to Gen Z

Personalized email marketing

Shocking but true: Gen Z enjoys personalized emails but be mindful of how often you’re reaching out and why. Include something in your messaging- an offer, an experience, and anything that includes free food or goodies!


Quick, Captivating Video Content

Gen Z has grown up with short form video. First Vine, and now TikTok. Keep videos short, fun, and shareable.

Go-To Karaoke Songs: Gen Z Edition

  • Drivers License–Olivia Rodrigo
  • As it Was – Harry Styles
  • Bury A Friend – Billie Eilish
  • Old Town Road– Lil Nas X
  • Blinding Lights–The Weeknd
  • Kings and Queens–Ava Max
  • Dynamite–BTS

Want more?
E-Book: How to Market to Gen Z Effectively



Filling the Generational Gap with Research and Data

We hope you enjoyed insights into a few of the generations we have our eye on. Whatever your generation is, I hope we did it justice. We’re here if you want to go deeper into anything.

For more information on generational targeting, download The Generational Targeting Round-Up E-Book.


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About the Author

@Janine Pollack is the Integrated Marketing Director, and self-appointed Storyteller in Chief at MNI Targeted Media. She leads the brand’s commitment to generating content that informs and inspires. Her scope of work includes strategy and development for Fortune Knowledge Group’s thought leadership programs and launching Fortune’s The Most Powerful Woman podcast. She is proud to have partnered with The Hebrew University on the inaugural Nexus: Israel program, featuring worldwide luminaries. Janine has also written lifetime achievements for Sports Business Journal. She earned her masters from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism and B.A. from The American University in Washington D.C.