Advertising Digital Publishing
2 mins read

How publishers should tailor their marketing to generational preferences

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At the Ricoh Marketing Innovator Symposium in Boulder, Colo., which attracted a range of attendees from the print, brand and agency worlds, one of the key takeaways was centered around the generational divide — different age demographics don’t just want different messages, they want different messaging platforms and different forms of communication altogether.

Age does matter, and using the wrong platform with the wrong demographic will ultimately hurt a publisher’s ability to effectively reach — and market to — those individuals.

Here is a quick look at what you need to know to effectively create content for – and market to – each demographic. And don’t discount the older generations, either. Baby Boomers, incidentally, still control more than 70% of the purchasing dollars in the United States today.


75 million individuals
Born 2001-2015
3-17 years old

Many believed that Generation Z, or the iGen, would be “Millennials on steroids,” but the reality is that this generation is already shaping up to be somewhat surprising.

The overall trend is for each generation to move a little further toward consuming their content and marketing messages on screens instead of on paper. iGen is bucking that trend. According to Eric Fahey, research manager for Mintel Comperemedia, 83% of this generation report that they love getting something in the mail — even if it’s marketing messages. They have grown up with digital communications, so for them, print is a novelty that stands out.

Building a connection with free newsletters is also a great way to initiate the relationship and build toward paid subscriptions once iGen’ers start making more of their own purchasing decisions.


87 million individuals
Born 1980-2000
18-38 years old

This is the “experience” generation, which is prompting so many brands and marketing campaigns to shift from selling them products to selling them a lifestyle.  Because of their focus on experiences, Millennials will be more likely to engage with a brand or publisher in a live setting than other generations, whether it’s a small, focused event centered around a single sponsor, or a major event designed to draw huge crowds.

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