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Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z: Who are They and What's the Best Way to Engage Them?

In marketing, knowing your audience is key. Many times, this means boiling it down to a demographic based on their age. Are you targeting Gen X, Gen Y or Gen Z?

We’ve all seen these monikers before, but what do they really mean? It’s not as simple as saying “all 40-year-olds are part of Gen Y” or “anyone born after 2000 is a Zoomer.” To market effectively to these groups and engage them, you need to really understand who they are—and what they want.

Here’s a quick dive into each of the three major generations: how they interact on the Internet, what their habits are online and how they prefer to shop and buy in the digital age.

Gen X (1966-1976)

They’re the babies of the Baby Boomer Generation! Gen Xers grew up when MTV was still all about music and cellular telephones were about the size of bricks. Today, they’re established professionals at the top of the workforce. As of 2021, there are about 65 million Gen Xers in the United States. Roughly90% of them own a smartphone and more than 77% of them are daily active users of at least one social platform.

Preferred social platform

Gen X is all about Facebook. They use the platform as it was intended: to connect with and stay in touch with friends and relatives, and to share photos and sentiments with those they care about. The result? A lot ofzero-party data that paints a clear picture about their likes, dislikes, habits and aspirations.

Content consumption habits

Gen Xers spend an average of two hours each day on social platforms. They gravitate to news media and are ready to consume content from personalities they see as reputable and authoritative. This demographic doesn’t appreciate message personalization as much as younger groups, but does appreciate curated topics.

How they like to shop

This group tends to have disposable income and the education to put it to work for themselves. They tend to be more active consumers, yet aren’t as keen on digital shopping as younger generations. They still prefer to hand over cash in return for a physical item in real-time.

Gen Y (1977-1994)

You know them better as Millennials—the children of Reading Rainbow who grew up to kill fast casual restaurants. There are about 72 million Millennials in the United States as of 2021, and they make up the glut of the workforce. This group is the most diverse, featuring heads of households, single individuals, individuals in co-parenting situations and much more. 93% of Millennials own a smartphone and 86% use social media: two ubiquitous factors for this demographic.

Preferred social platform

Millennials love Instagram and YouTube, although most have several social platforms that they’re active on daily. In fact, Millennials are active on an average of six platforms a day—a number even higher than Gen Z users. They prefer visual media above all else, gravitating to images and, increasingly, videos.

Content consumption habits

Millennials spend a whopping 3.8 hours each day on social media, consuming content at breakneck speeds. Many cite social media as their primary source for information about politics, entertainment, global events, newsworthy happenings and more. They prefer to watch a 30-second video as opposed to read a 300-word blurb.

How they like to shop

Millennials are the driving force behind the rise of ecommerce over the last decade. They have no problem plugging in credit card numbers to buy online. They’re brand evangelists and tend to have brand loyalty, gravitating to retailers who offer both quality products and social clout.

Gen Z (1995-2012)

Sometimes called “Zennials” or “Zoomers,” this is the generation of digital natives: kids who grew up on the Internet. Roughly 40% of consumers in the United States economy are Gen Z; however, they tend to have the lowest buying power of the demographics listed here. This group is totally plugged in: 95% own and use a smartphone, and 97% are active on at least one social platform daily. They’re not just at-home online; they thrive there.

Preferred social platform

Gen Z is constantly on to the next up-and-coming platform. They paved the way for the rise of Snapchat, but today, it’s TikTok that’s captivating the attention of Zoomers. Many are also active on Instagram and YouTube. This group tends to shy away from classic platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Content consumption habits

Zoomers live online: up to 10 hours a day! As a result, they’re extremely proficient at sorting through massive amounts of data very quickly. It’s estimated that Gen Z individualsdecide within eight secondswhether something is important enough to warrant their attention. It’s why they prefer short-form media snippets above all.

How they like to shop

Gen Z does most of its shopping online. But unlike their Millennial counterparts, Gen Z has little brand loyalty. Instead, they prefer to spread out their purchases over smaller vendors when possible. Conscious consumerism is strong among this group and while they spend frequently, they do so carefully.

Reaching every generation through text marketing

Conversational text marketing is quickly becoming a refreshing, interactive way for companies to communicate with consumers and reach them authentically. With these personas in mind, it’s important to consider best practices for communicating with each group.

·  Gen X: It’s important to personalize the offer to these individuals, but not necessarily the tone. Gen Xers can be wary of feeling like they’re being taken for a ride if an advertiser knows too much. Better to insinuate than be deliberate, and to focus on the offer.

·  Gen Y: Millennials are ready and willing to have a conversation, which means text message marketing needs to be a prompt—not just a statement. Give them a reason to respond and they will. Personalization is also key; let them know you’re addressing them.

·  Gen Z: Text message marketing to Zoomers needs to make a point fast—you only have eight seconds. This group is always plugged in, so your message should also be timely and laden with value. You can rest assured they’ll see it—just remember to give them a reason to respond.

No matter which group you’re targeting, make sure you’re messaging them with their habits and preferences in mind. The core message might stay the same, but how it’s crafted needs to change. Thankfully, text messaging is a perfect medium no matter who you’re talking to. Just make sure you’re using a platform like Voxie that’s capable of handling the nuance of communication based on who’s on the receiving end of the message.

Want to explore the powerful potential of conversational texting, to grow your business and strengthen your brand? Chat with a conversational texting expert at Voxie today toschedule a demo.

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