There’s a generational shift going on, and it’s changing how businesses approach their sales and marketing strategies. Radical differences between these generations in terms of values, expectations and behaviors make this epic shift a unique challenge for marketers. Are you ready to adapt?

Generations Defined

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Millennials (ages 18-34) are the nation’s largest generation with 75.4 million individuals in the United States. By comparison, Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) now number 74.9 million and Gen X (ages 35-50) number 52 million.

When looking at what drives these distinctly different groups, consider the psychology of how their minds work, according to Consumer Psychologist Kit Yarrow, PhD and author of “Decoding the New Consumer Mind.”

Why they Shop

Millennials shop to “show who I am,” striving to connect to likeminded people. They have high expectations, and authenticity is very important, as they rely heavily on recommendations. Millennials have a lot of spending power by sheer numbers, but have a lot of debt to consider (think student loans), so value is very important.

Generation X may be sandwiched between two giants, but are established with spending power. According to Open Forum, 10% of all Gen Xers are considered “upscale” with a household income of over $250,000. Xers are practical and the last generation to have experienced life prior to the technological boom, remembering “pre-smart phone days.” At the forefront of change, they have driven the development of technology.

Since 2008’s economic downturn, Baby Boomers are less flush with disposable income than you would think. Retirement, kids’ education and other financial concerns make Boomers apt to invest in products and experiences that help them feel fulfilled.

Why they Buy

Technology’s (namely Google’s) Impact

Industry experts say currently only 12% of buyers meet a sales rep in person at the beginning of the buying process. Regardless of generation, buyers spend much time pre-sale researching online. Imagine all of the touches your potential customer is missing at various stages of the sales funnel if you don’t have a good digital presence. If you’re not found as they search, you won’t be considered when they are ready to purchase.

Aligning Messages

Aligning your marketing efforts with the sales team will yield you the most effective messaging. Every good sales person has the stories they tell in order to work their way through the sales process with every audience. Marketers should harness those stories to create content for each phase of the sales funnel. In addition, team members can leverage this knowledge for some pretty impactful account based marketing.

Do they Trust you? Are you Valuable?

It’s important to segment your marketing efforts to appeal to various audiences with relevant and targeted content. Providing value and creating relationships, regardless of the generation, should be paramount in your marketing strategies. Be short, to the point and (above all) valuable, and you will build the trust that most buyers require. Reviewing the Inbound Marketing Methodology will help here.

DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Terminology Guide

Line it Up:

Generally, sales and marketing alignment means your marketing strategies can adapt to the generational shift. Set your company apart as solutions-oriented and gain meaningful relationships with your customers by contacting Ironmark’s digital marketing team for more on how to line up your digital marketing strategy with your sales efforts.


Written by Lynne Kingsley

Lynne Kingsley oversees the digital marketing client services team as well as the marketing strategy division for the company. Since joining the company in 2016, she has increased Ironmark’s digital presence by over 700%, establishing a new lead generation mechanism for the sales team. A certified inbound marketing professional and HubSpot agency partner, Kingsley has been helping companies transform their marketing function into fully diverse and streamlined growth engines since 2003. With agency and client-side work under her belt, Kingsley’s strategic experience spans both the B2B and B2C sectors. Prior to joining the Ironmark team, she served as in-house marketing director for several non-profit organizations. Kingsley is an honors graduate of the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.
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