Generational Snapshots from Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center’s latest study, “Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change” provides insights for marketing to Gen X, Baby Boomers and Silent Generation as well as the nation’s 18-29 year olds. This week we’ll post short takes related to social networking, economic outlooks and other topics. We recommend reading the full study and spending some time with the terrific interactive graphs that compare the generations todayand when they were at the same age as Millennials are now.
Do Generational Distinctions Matter to Marketing?
How we see ourselves does matter to marketing, so it’s interesting to note that each of the four generations told researchers that there are reasons they are unique.
First, here’s how Pew defines the generations:
- Millennial: Born after 1980, currently 18-29 years old
- Generation X: Born between 1965-1980, now 30-45 years old
- Baby Boom: Born 1946-1964, currently ages 46-64 (includes both leading edge/older Boomers and the trailing edge/younger Boomers often broken out as “Generation Jones”)
- Silent (aka “Ikes”): Born between 1928-1945, now 65 years old or better
Now, here’s how each generation defines what makes them different than the rest.
All of the generations except the Millennials said work ethic was a distinguishing trait. This is especially ironic because Pew’s study also shows that 15% of Millennials reported being successful in a high-paying career was one of the most important things in their lives (vs. only 7% of respondents over 30 years old who felt that way).
The report cites Millennials (61%) and Silents (66%) as saying theirs is a unique generation. The Silent Generation respondents were most likely to say that theirs is not just a different generation, but it is better/stronger than the others (4%).
Silents also were most likely to say that the historic times in which they lived were defining of their generation. (Check out this case study of branding/market research done for a museum focused on WWI and WWI experiences to see one way we’ve applied this type of insight.) Perhaps this will get lazy marketers to stop tossing peace symbols and Woodstock references into every Boomer-oriented ad?