When you started your company, you were attracting 18-34 year olds, and they have remained by your side for the last 10 years. They’re your loyal consumer base. Your brand ambassadors. They’re who you’d thank in your next award speech.

But today, those Gen-Xers have grown up, and while still loyal, they’re are moving farther and farther away from your target market: The largest living generation and a group of people who have $200 billion in annual buying power. Millennials. You know they can no longer be ignored, but you also know marketing to Millennials is different than marketing to Generation X.

Now you find yourself considering both parties in your marketing strategy.

Find the Similarities

To do this, first look at the similarities and differences between the two target markets, so you can understand what entices these audiences to interact with brands and what motivates them to buy.

Unsurprisingly, both Millennials and Gen-Xers are on the Internet. According to the Pew Research Center, 99 percent of 18-29 year olds, and 96 percent of those between the ages of 30-49 in the United States are Internet users. But how they use the Internet varies.

Millennials feel more attached to their phones and tablets than Generation X. They use apps to make purchases from retailers, and they are much more likely to shop for fun.

On the other hand, your Gen-Xers are less impulsive, and they need time to make purchasing decisions.

Knowing both groups are active on the Internet means your marketing campaigns can, and should, live in the digital space. But your messages for each group must be unique.


Content created for Millennials should reinforce their social identity, or their sense of who they are within their peer group. Use images and video that reflect how your brand helps them achieve their aspirations and #goals. Familiarize yourself with trendy abbreviations and hashtags, and take time to understand the nuances of emoji-use.

If you can authentically speak their language, you can create an authentic connection. To further that connection beyond your owned channels, identify influencers which your Millennial audience will relate.

Meanwhile, create content for your Gen-Xers that makes them believe in their purchasing decision. Use data when making claims of top performance and show them, via images or video, how your brand’s offering compares to the competition.

When in doubt, highlight another consumer’s review to help justify the purchase. Don’t forget, these are your loyal consumers already. Make them even more loyal by offering them exclusive content and discounts. You can even create nostalgic content that reminds them of the good ol’ days when you first met each other.


Once you’ve created content for both groups, consider where it should be distributed. Think about where Millennials and Gen-Xers spend time online. Both groups use social media, but they use it differently.

Millennials are on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and, despite what you may have heard, Facebook. According to MarketingCharts and Bluecore, 25 percent of Millennials say they use Facebook to learn about new products, while 43 percent of Gen-Xers say they don’t use social media to learn about new products.

marketing to millennials

Generation X might not be using Facebook to research products, but they are on Facebook. They are also on Instagram and Pinterest, so social media is still a network brands can use to reach them. However, you should also consider search and email for Generation X, and SMS for those Millennials who feel so attached to their phones.

Let’s be Honest

At times, marketing to two people groups may feel like you’re doubling your workload. It may seem difficult to focus on an entirely new group of people. But if you can create engaging content for both Millennials and Gen-Xers, and then distribute it on the channels where each group spends time, you’ll be marketing to both in no time.

Don’t be afraid to adopt new channels and test out content ideas. Not to freak you out, but in just a few years, we’ll be talking about how to market to Generation Z without ignoring Millennials and an aging Generation X. If you start strategizing and researching now, you’ll be the brand that is ahead of the game in the years to come.