If you saw our post and video a couple of weeks ago – the one about ‘selling to generation z’, you’ll know we think cohort labels, while convenient, can be a mite misleading.

Millennials, for example, now that they’re getting on a bit, have had time to become less alike in their attitudes and habits.

Members of generation X (the ones before millennials) are becoming even more disparate – much less of a group as their lived experiences diverge.

So, as our new video points out – you must be careful when developing messages, planning campaigns and choosing channels.

In short – don’t generalise a generation.

If you have teenage kids, you’ll know that a 19 year-old is probably as baffled by a 13 year-old as you are, though they’re both in generation z, theoretically.

A millennial mum is almost certain to think and use media differently to a millennial single. Dur, you may be saying – of course mums are different to singles – always have been. Mumsnet reaches and influences millennial mums (and mums of other ages) but it doesn’t do much for a 35 year-old male Vet who’s into cycling and surfing.

But how about Facebook? Is this the channel that reaches both? The fact that it means less and less to generation z might suggest so. and recent research showing that generation x (born 1965 – 1980) are becoming Facebook’s biggest fans would reinforce the theory.

…and also lead you to become suspicious of generation labels in general. Do they fool you into treating cohorts as more cohesive than they really are? Are they for socio-economists to pontificate on but for marketeers to question?

We suspect so.

Now that we’re able to reach and sell to consumers one at a time, we can look beyond the broad-stroke strategies of crowds and clusters.

We can and must be more aware of individual events and aspirations, singular attitudes and sensibilities. The future is qualitative, we believe. It’s about thinking harder and looking deeper into consumers’ hearts and minds.

We make no apology for quoting Ted Levitt again (see our post and video two months ago) “The primary function of every business is the acquisition and maintenance of customers”.

So how do you perform your primary function?

By organising every part of your business so that you know customers, understand customers and reach out to customers more effectively and more individually than your competitors.

It’s how you win the generation game – whatever you may think of generation labels.

Please have another peek at our video

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