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  • Writer's pictureJim Gagen

Old School, New School and the Media Generation Gap (Part 2)

How to market in the Media Generation Gap era

The fact that Boomers and Millennials have drastically different media habits has been clearly established. The challenge is how to develop marketing and media strategies to reach the two segments. .

Bifurcated Media Strategies

The first solution to this challenge is to accept the fact that the traditional A18-49 or A25-54 demos are relatively meaningless as they span both segments. Instead marketers need to develop bifurcated media strategies; one for A18-34 and one for A35-54 (or A35+). While given the difference in media habits between Boomers and Millennials, splitting the demos seems fairly academic; many marketers still utilize A18-49 or A25-54 as their basis for plans. Once marketers embrace the overarching strategy of developing specific plans against each segment, they will be able to effectively create more focused and sensible media plans.

Budget Allocations

Secondly, budget allocations need to be allocated between the segments. Some criteria for these budget splits should be:

1. Sales opportunities of each segment

a. Current

b. Future

2. Analysis of BDI/CDI against each segment

3. The cost of the media that will need to be utilized to reach each segment

The key criterion is the first one above, the sales opportunity. While Millennials may be the future for many brands, in most cases Boomers still have far greater buying power. While marketing to younger audiences has been common practice for years, careful consideration must be given to the optimal budget allocation between these segments. Spending heavily against Boomers will most likely provide better short-term results and superior ROI, but will not develop your brand for the future. Disproportionate spending to against Millennials must be viewed as a long-term strategy with the understanding that it may not initially be as financially rewarding as targeting Boomers.

Media Mix

Once budgets by segments are determined, the appropriate media mix for each demo can be established. In a broad sense, while there will be overlapping media habits between the segments, Boomers are more likely to be reached via “mass” media, while Millennials require a more targeted (and one-to-one) approach. More specifically, each segment needs to be targeted at the tactical level within each “medium”. The following provides an oversimplified illustration of this tactical differentiation:

Medium Boomers Millennials

Television Broadcast & Cable Streaming

Radio/Audio AM/FM AM/FM, Pandora, Spotify

Print Newspapers, Magazines "What's Print?"

Digital News, Travel, Sports Entertainment, Pop Culture

Obviously, marketers and their media teams will have to do a much deeper dive into each of the media elements above and there may be some overarching media vehicles reaching both Boomers and Millennials, but developing specific plans against each segment will go a long way toward reaching short-term and long-term brand goals.

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