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Generations in SA - Getting Your Message Right

So, is it LSM or XYZ? You are probably thinking what a strange question – but in this instance I am referring to dividing target markets into the various LSM’s versus dividing them into generations.

People generally battle to box themselves into an LSM (Living Standards Measure) so for the purpose of Marketing Strategy and Internal Staff Communication, look at your target market by dividing them into Generations – this is part of doing an Outside-In Marketing Strategy.

Each generation is different: Raised differently, exposed to different external influences, with different values and norms. We are all shaped by the generation in which we are born and raised. This affects the way we look at the world around us, our responses and expectations.

Here is a summary of the various Generations:

The Baby Boom Generation (+-1946 – 1964)
So called because of the great increase in birth rates following World War II – Baby Boomers are associated with a redefinition of traditional values and one of the key features of Boomers are that they tend to think of themselves as a special and hard working generation. Bear age and technological advances in mind when exposing Baby Boomers to Online & Digital media and take into consideration the following categories: Avoiders, Reluctant Adopters and Eager Adopters, with some never being able to convert!

The Generation X (+- 1961 – 1979)
Seen by the baby boomers as the REBELS – Generation X have a strong sense of individualism, possibly effected by the formation of the ANC and the Republic of South Africa in 1961, and are also very diverse in aspects of society such as race, class, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. In the workplace, Generation X value the freedom to set their own hours through flexi-time. As with Baby Boomers, when exposing Generation X to Online & Digital media you need to take into consideration that a big portion were born before the existence of digital technology and have had to adopt it.

The Millennials / GenerationY / Gen Next > (+- 1980 – 2000)
Millennials probably make up the biggest portion of the workforce and are achievement-orientated employees and skilled multi-taskers who may constantly yearn for your attention and guidance. Millennials like to work in teams and embrace challenges together (ubuntu) – possibly influenced through social networking and sharing, plus the end of Apartheid in 1994. Depending on their social & economic conditions, the Millennials are seen as the Digital Natives – they thrive in Communication via Social Sharing, Email & sms. Millennials are also known as the Eco Boomers, due to the increased awareness of their health & environment responsibilities.

Generation C (+-March 12, 1988 – April 24, 1993)
This is a generation within Millennials, and are known as the CONTENT generation, with the web at their fingertips and heaps of applications on their smartphones to share content.

Generation Z / Generation I / The Internet Generation (+- 1996 – 2010)
Born completely WITHIN technology with access to www, instant messaging, mp3, mobile phones, you tube etc. Also called the Superficial Extraverts – where socialising does not consist of going out to a movie. Communicating to this generation can be quite challenging and because they are so connected, marketing efforts and communication that are not delivered with integrity will quickly be rejected!

What comes next? It has been suggested that the next generation, born from 2010, will be called “Generation Alpha”. Maybe the scales will balance in this generation, between the excessive use of digital technology and face to face social interactions… who knows.

Written by Nadia Lerm

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