The Generational Stereotype

If you are involved with Innovation or Social Media you can’t help but to be sucked in the generalisation of the world population. Nearly every article seems to mention Gen Y or now the Gen Z (I even heard Gen Z being Called Generation C – the Connected Generation) but can you really stereotype the world population? Certainly the younger generations have never known any reality other than that defined and enabled by the internet, mobile devices and Social Networking, however like most things experience also counts. When I say experience I am not referring to the traditional view of work experience but experience of application and technology usage – this no longer needs to be learnt at work and is not age dependant, especially when the Silver Surfers are one of the larger growing groups at the moment.

One of the main reasons that Innovation programs or Social Media experiments fail is not in the rollout but in the application, consumer targeting and monitoring of the initiative. Today everyone seems to believe that to progress in the world you need a Social Media presence, both personally and professionally. Although this is true you must first ask the question why?? Once you have a “real reason” to enter this space you can then consider the type of consumer you are targeting (Is it to sell a product or promote yourself?). No longer does one size fit all (I don’t believe it ever did however) as the different generations may require different Social Media approaches.

 You cannot segment by Generation alone; if you are looking to segment a global demographic you need to consider Generation, Location (1st World, 2nd World and 3rd World) and Experience as a minimum. This will then ensure that your product reach is not only targeted only at the Generations which should purchase your product, but the ones which may be interested which do not fall into the Generation Stereotype.

Generation Types

Baby Boomer – A person born in the postwar years (generally considered in the USA and other Allied countries as between 1945 and the early 1960s), when there was an increase in the birth rate following the return of servicemen at the end of World War II.

Generation X – The generation of people born after baby boom that followed World War II, especially those born in the 1960s and 1970s.

Generation Y – The generation of people born in the 1980s and 1990s.

Generation Z – The generation of people born in the 1990s and 2000s.


Author: Steve Wakefield

Steve Wakefield is an experienced Innovator presently based in London.

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