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Marketing to Generations X, Y, Z: the Fashion Niche

Digital Marketing
June 22, 2020

Marketers are advocates of the “know your audience” approach. And right they are. Purchasing habits of different demographic groups differ radically while creating a so-called portrait of your consumer, this helps to understand their needs and influence the decision to purchase. Generational marketing is especially applicable in the fashion niche. We previously explained why defining your target audience and marketing to different generations is a must in digital marketing. In this article, we’ll figure out the peculiarities of marketing to Generations X, Y, Z.

What Is Generational Marketing

Generational marketing is defined as a marketing approach that segments the audience based on groups of people born within a similar time frame (typically 15 years). These cohorts share common characteristics, life experiences, and cultural influences, which shape their values, preferences, and buying behaviors. By leveraging these insights, marketers can create targeted campaigns that address the unique needs and desires of each generation. For example, Generation X may appreciate straightforward, no-nonsense communication, whereas Generation Z prefers interactive, tech-savvy content. Understanding these differences allows brands to connect more effectively with their audience.

US Pet Ownership Demographics (Common Thread Collective, 2023)
This statistic helps understand which age group would be the perfect target audience to be subjected to pet product marketing.

Understanding Generational Differences

Generation Z (Born 1997-2012)
Generation Z, the first true digital natives, place high importance on authenticity and inclusivity. Known for their brief attention spans, they thrive on visual social media platforms and are drawn to interactive, dynamic content that captures their interest quickly.

Millennials (Born 1981-1996)
Millennials, adept with technology and driven by social causes, value experiences more than physical items. They engage actively on social media, favor brands with strong missions, and prefer content that feels personalized and relevant to their lives.

Generation X (Born 1965-1980)
Generation X is marked by its independence and ability to adapt. While tech-savvy, they are not typically the first to adopt new technologies. They seek authenticity in brands and highly value responsive and reliable customer service.

Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964)
Baby Boomers tend to hold traditional values and prioritize loyalty and quality. They appreciate personalized customer interactions and are more comfortable with print media and face-to-face communication than with digital platforms, reflecting their less tech-centric habits.

Generation X Marketing Characteristics

Generation X is the demographic group that follows the baby boomers and precedes the Millennials. They are not yet as mobile as Gen Y, but are really demanding when it comes to service quality.

Who are generation X (1965-1980). Take a look at gen X buying habits:

  • they are firm individualists with a strong desire to feel their uniqueness;
  • would rather buy offline, though they are actively mastering online shopping;
  • prefer applicable and down-to-earth ads to vibrant pictures and creative ideas;
  • selective and thrifty. A detailed analysis including price & characteristics comparison and forum reviews is important before making a purchase.

Gen X Marketing

A comprehensive UX. Do not forget that the oldest representatives of this generation are already 60, while the youngest ones are 41 y.o. Not all the Gen Xers fully understand website mechanics. Logically, they need clear instructions and a simple interface. To make friends with Gen Xers, be sure to provide detailed information on how to receive your product. Include delivery options, step-by-step payment instructions, and friendly navigation will help to gain and grow the trust of the Gen X representatives.

Take into account that Gen Xers are also active social network users, spending most of their time online mainly from 20.00 to 00.00. However, they use a desktop more.

Google, Amazon, Tesla founders are the richest people alive. All of them are Gen X representatives.

Calling nostalgia is appreciated. Gen Xers miss the good old times. This explains why brands often appeal to retro stylistics when marketing to generation X. Marketers go and relaunch their old campaigns and build creativity on the bricks of 80-90s memories. These could be the beloved characters, images, mottos & slogans from the past.

PUMA is a good example of how a fashion brand can unite Gen Xers with millennials under a marketing campaign. The company’s creative message is built on involving a millennials’ fashion icon with the 90s aesthetics.

selena gomez puma

Quality and structure. Your advertising creative for generation X marketing should be structured and convincing. It’s important to convey the idea that the customer receives the maximum benefit from the consumption of your product. Do not forget to talk about the high quality of the fashion items – this is one of the main criteria that will help your Gen Xers make their purchasing decisions.

Email and YouTube. We recommend choosing email as the main communication channel. Gen Xers are the ones that still check their inbox regularly and are more likely to place an order after they receive a personalized offer based on their previous purchases. Another platform for brands targeting generation X is YouTube. Gen Xers grew up with TV shows on in the background and still percept TV & video advertising. At the same time, they have massively migrated to YouTube. There Gen Xers can seek to find content that causes nostalgia and answers the how-to questions.

Generation Y Marketing Characteristics

Millennials, also known as Generation Y are in focus of almost every marketer at these times. They are a driving force behind promoting a brand’s name. But the paradox is that they are not likely to trust ads. Here're some insights when marketing to gen Y:

  • 82% of millennials will immediately check their gadgets after they wake up;
  • 40% start the day in social network feeds;
  • more than 70% sleep with a smartphone under their pillows.  

Who are Millennials (1981-1997)

  • they receive information online, and are less familiar with traditional media;
  • social networks are millennials’ main communication channels. They are active Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube users;
  • savvy in a digital environment, know how to find any product online;
  • Influencers act as experts for Gen Y representatives. The latter spend a lot of time reading blogs & forums, watching reviews;
  • have a great influence on the older generation and act as trendsetters in all the fashion segments;
  • loyal to brands that provide quality products and services.

Generation Y Marketing

Content marketing. Millennials don't just expect personalized content – they take it for granted. Representatives of Generation Y tend to rely upon the opinion of influencers, meaning influencer marketing is a winning choice. They care about your brand’s position in SERPs. Before making purchases online, representatives of the generation Y read online reviews, check photos, visit company pages on social networks, compare prices, and search discounts.

Regardless of the communication channels you use, create entertaining content to grow the engagement rate, and be creative when it comes to activity. Run giveaways, contests, like time, and go livestreaming to your followers when launching gen Y fashion marketing strategy.

Omnichannel generation marketing. A brand needs to be ready for distribution via all the existing channels and has its website optimized for mobile devices. In other words, the user scenario should look as follows: a special offer received by email > Facebook Messenger used to receive quick help > click on the link performed for quick payment > the order picked up at the offline delivery point.

Reviews. Online reviews are the main source of trust among millennials. They appreciate the opportunity to be heard, and they will never miss a chance to hear from others. Make sure they have a room for that type of feedback. Two-thirds of millennials make purchasing decisions based on online reviews. The feedback and experience of casual users affect them more than any brand marketing activity.

62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. They expect brands to not only be on social networks but to engage them.

Personalized offers. Focus on email marketing campaigns that include special offers, provide your millennial customers with exclusive access to certain product categories, and in line buying options in your offline stores. Various incentives are especially important to build loyalty with the Generation Y representatives. Collaborate with stylists who will help create the perfect look or look books. Do not forget that millennials are interested in fashion and shopping more than other age groups.

carolina herrera instagram

The interaction of millennials with retail brands increases dramatically after the introduction of profitable loyalty programs. According to PunchTab, 74% of young women and 52% of millennial men participate in various brand loyalty programs.

Generation Z Marketing Characteristics

Zoomers are members of Generation Z, the generation of people born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Gen Zers follow the millennials. These are digital children who can’t imagine their lives without 5G, eco-activists, and overall sustainability seekers.

Who are zoomers (1998-2010):

  • they are rare traditional media consumers. Gen Zers use smartphones and desktops since they were in nappies;
  • their main communication channel is logically social networks. Zoomers are active Instagram, YouTube and TikTok users;
  • prefer to learn about products through videos on social networks and influencer marketing;
  • sophisticated enough to expect that additional services from the brand with every purchase.

Marketing to Generation Z

Gen Zers make purchases in three cases:

  • following their friends’ recommendations;
  • if they often see a certain ad;
  • if the product is tailored to their needs.

Visual content is more important than a text, they are used to receiving information quickly, they seem to have their filters embedded by default. When creating and promoting content to zoomers, remember that they usually consume information through short videos, tags, and memes. A brand is no longer about the product and its quality, but the opportunities it provides: being fashionable, vibrant, unusual.

41% of zoomers are on TikTok. Although this platform was initially a place for entertainment, its gen marketing potential is now extensively used by fashion brands like Guess, Burberry & Prada. The former boasts a successful example of the Hashtag Challenge, one of the existing ad formats on TikTok.

#inMyDenim challenge Guess launched in their TikTok account engaged customers to post videos with the branded hashtag to share how they feel wearing Guess jeans wear.

Challenges are quite famous in the majority of social networks. They are one of the successful Generation Z marketing examples.

Who Are Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are a generation defined by their experiences during a time of significant social and economic change. They grew up in the post-World War II era, witnessing the rise of the civil rights movement, the advent of television, and the landing on the moon. These events have instilled in them a sense of optimism, hard work, and a strong belief in traditional values. Baby Boomers often prioritize stability, loyalty, and quality in their personal and professional lives. For instance, many Boomers have spent their careers with a single employer, valuing long-term job security and the benefits that come with it.

In terms of consumer behavior, Baby Boomers are known for their brand loyalty and preference for high-quality products and services. They tend to favor in-person interactions and personalized customer service, reflecting their comfort with more traditional forms of communication. For example, a Baby Boomer might prefer to visit a physical store and speak with a knowledgeable salesperson rather than shopping online. They also appreciate marketing that speaks to their values of trust and reliability.

Baby Boomers Marketing Characteristics

Marketing to Baby Boomers requires a strategic approach that acknowledges their unique preferences and values. Here are four tips to effectively reach and engage this influential generation:

1. Emphasize Quality and Reliability

Baby Boomers value high-quality products and services that promise durability and dependability. Highlighting the superior quality and reliability of your offerings can significantly appeal to this demographic. For example, in your marketing materials, focus on the craftsmanship, longevity, and performance of your products, and use testimonials from satisfied customers to reinforce these attributes.

2. Use Traditional Media Channels

While Baby Boomers are increasingly tech-savvy, many still prefer traditional media channels such as print, television, and radio. Incorporating these channels into your marketing mix can help you reach a broader segment of this audience. For instance, placing ads in popular magazines or newspapers and airing commercials during prime time TV shows can effectively capture their attention and build brand awareness.

3. Offer Personalized Customer Service

Personalized customer service is a significant draw for Baby Boomers. They appreciate the ability to speak with knowledgeable representatives and receive tailored advice. To cater to this preference, ensure that your customer service team is well-trained and capable of providing individualized support. Additionally, consider implementing loyalty programs that reward long-term customers, which can enhance their sense of appreciation and encourage repeat business.

4. Build Trust Through Transparency

Trust and transparency are crucial to Baby Boomers. They prefer brands that are honest and upfront about their practices, policies, and product details. To build trust, provide clear and comprehensive information about your products and services, and be transparent about pricing, return policies, and warranties. Engaging in community activities and demonstrating corporate social responsibility can also enhance your credibility and foster a positive brand image among this generation.

How Do You Use Generational Marketing

Generational marketing offers a crucial foundation for brands to build upon, providing insights into target markets and their potential customer journeys. By understanding the distinct behaviors and expectations of various generations, lifestyle and leisure brands can pinpoint the optimal times and channels for engagement, craft effective communication strategies, and build customer loyalty. This approach enables marketers to develop relatable campaigns that resonate with their audience, ultimately influencing their purchasing decisions.

Despite its benefits, generational marketing should not be the sole strategy for all businesses or campaigns. Over-reliance on age-based assumptions and stereotypes can prove ineffective. Instead, generational insights should serve as a preliminary guide to understanding consumer values, behaviors, and motivations. It's important to integrate these insights with a broader marketing strategy that considers other factors, such as the pandemic's influence on consumer interactions with brands.

If you need help defining your brand and developing a strong marketing strategy, Promodo is here to assist. We specialize in identifying your brand's unique qualities and ensuring consistent communication. Contact us for a free consultation, and explore our blogs and resources to help your business thrive!

June 22, 2020
February 6, 2024
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