Photo by Kevin Curtis on Unsplash

Generational targeting can be all the rage. Just last year, Millennials needed to get out of the way for Gen-Z.  This summer, Millennials were Killing Restaurants.  And very recently, Nation’s Restaurant News told us what Gen-X consumers want from restaurants.

So, as a marketer, what are you to do?  The 4 items below are a good foundation for navigating generational targeting waters as you move forward with your efforts.

1. Understand Your Customer Base

A brand that understands the demographic make up of its customer base will be the first to steer clear or into generational targeting.  Adding demographic data to your eclub, loyalty, and everyday transactors will give you insight into what characteristics they share.  From there, analysis and profiling will help you see if you need to think wider than a generational category.

2. Generation Doesn’t Ultimately Define Behavior

Recently, I had a client email me about targeting after a consumer redeemed an offer at their restaurant.  The consumer was slightly older than their normal target.  My response was pretty straightforward: their money is no different, is it?  People can get wrapped up in thinking an entire generation acts the same.  Geography (specifically, proximity to a location), demographics, and consumer behavior can all trump generational boundaries.

(and PS, we did response analysis on the age ranges for the client above and found the older segment performed higher than others AND came back on their own at a higher clip.) 

3. Tech Adoption Rates will be Higher Among Younger Generations

Younger generations as a whole will certainly be faster to adopt technology.  It would be silly to say that the overwhelming majority of boomers jumped on online ordering before millennials and Gen-Z.  Early adopters will be those with more access and exposure to tech.  So, depending on what you are marketing and how technologically advanced it might be, you may want to think about skewing your audience toward the younger generation.

4.  Test accordingly

If 70% of your customers fit a generation, you certainly should focus there.  However, its always good to put tests out to other groups.  You never know who else you may pick up as a customer.  In the Gen-X article referenced above, it mentioned these consumers wanting kids meals.  Well, there are certainly millennial consumers that would echo this as well.  If 70% of your consumers are Gen-X and you are having success with kids meals within that audience, you may want to test messaging this to millennials with kids as well.

These are certainly just the tip of the iceberg.  If you can your eye on the overall picture, you can target audiences successfully and navigate the generational maze flawlessly.