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Three Ways Age Matters In Marketing

Marigold’s new report shares how generations differ, and how marketers can tap in

There are many demographic factors to take into account when creating marketing campaigns. According to the recently published Consumer Trends Index from Marigold, few factors offer as stark a difference on multiple levels than age.

Simply put, each generation has its own unique preferences and practices. Given the ever-growing number of formats, technologies and strategies available to marketers today, knowing the granular ins and outs of how the different generations fit into this matrix of options is an increasingly critical necessity.

Here are the three areas where the generations differ most:

Email vs Social
Digital storefronts are everywhere these days, putting one-click access to purchasing goods and services at consumers’ fingertips wherever they live. But where to find customers in the digital sphere differs greatly based on their age.

According to the CTI report, Boomers and Gen X are far more likely to make a purchase via email, while Millennials and Gen Z purchase more over social. When asked what format they’ve made a purchase from in the last 12 months, the top responses by generation are:

  • Boomers: Email (62%)
  • Gen X: Email (64%)
  • Millennials: Social Media Post (67%)
  • Gen Z: Social Media Post (58%)

Interestingly, banner ads on websites or apps is the least popular format for all.

Price vs Convenience
What motivates consumers to make purchases also differs between the generations. Getting the best price or value is the top concern across generations. But there’s a good deal of variance between how much that is so. Price and value are most important to Gen Z and Boomers, while Millennials skew toward convenience and style more than the others.

When asked to self-identify what kind of shopper they are, the top responses showed notable differences between price vs. convenience:

  • Boomers: Price (51%) / Convenience (15%)
  • Gen X: Price (42%) / Convenience (20%)
  • Millennials: Price (32%) / Convenience (24%)
  • Gen Z: Price (44%) / Convenience (12%)

Loyalty vs Indifference
Brand loyalty is on the rise overall, with the majority of respondents in all age groups sticking with their preferred brands. But it’s certainly not a constant for all generations. Millennials are fickle… they’re the most likely to stray away from loyal brands, but are also most likely to be won back. Boomers meanwhile are stubborn… they’re the least likely to have strayed, but once gone are less likely to return.

Here’s the percentage of respondents by generation that reported fading brand loyalty on the last year:

  • Boomers: 20%
  • Gen X: 28%
  • Millennials: 43%
  • Gen Z: 37%

Loyalty programs are useful for customer retention, but their effectiveness varies based on the generation. Among those who are more likely to take part in loyalty programs this year, Millennials take the lead with 67%, while Boomers tail at 33%. But one thing they all agree on, offering discounts through loyalty programs is the top tactic brands can take to keep them coming back.

The takeaway from this generational focus on consumer attitudes is that brands need to be very careful about what they offer customers, and through which format. This matrix of message and delivery needs to be populated at the individual level, but executed at scale. Working with the right relationship marketing platform that can handle all options is a critical need in today’s marketing reality.

Click here for more information about Marigold, and to download the entire Consumer Trends Index report for free.

About Marigold

Marigold is a global martech leader focused on delivering relationship marketing solutions that are helping over 40,000 brands and organizations worldwide to find their customers, get to know them, and ultimately turn them into superfans. The company offers industry-tailored martech, email and loyalty solutions -  Marigold Grow, Marigold Engage, and Marigold Loyalty - that support the entire customer lifecycle and make it easy for brands to create long-term relationships, build loyalty and grow their businesses. Find out more at

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