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Tuning Your Web Strategy to All Generations

Have you ever stopped to consider how different generations might perceive and interact with your website? Just as each generation brings their own values and behaviors to the workplace, they bring distinct judgments to the web too. Your online presence is often the start of a conversation with any visitor, consumer, client, or potential recruit, and it’s easy to accidentally ostracize significant audience segments by only speaking to one generation. So here are key values from each generation to take into consideration with your overall web and content strategy to ensure you’re connecting with the people who matter—not scaring them off.

Baby Boomers

Competitive. Luxury.

As a whole, Baby Boomers tend to be competitive—driven to land the classic luxuries, comfort, and prestige they’ve worked so hard to obtain. Born between 1946–1964, they joined an overcrowded, cut-throat workforce, and they learned they needed to be at the top of their game at all times in order to succeed. They now wield an unquestionable work ethic, bring to life the concept of “keeping up with the Joneses,” and enjoy taking part in the latest and greatest of all the things.

What this means is that Boomers will connect more with websites that can appeal to these traits and values. How do you represent a certain level of luxury or prestige? How can you help them stand out from a crowd? How is your organization the best of the best—better than your competitors? Identifying opportunities to speak to these points in your web strategy will help ensure you’re starting a connection with this demographic of visitors.

Gen Xers

Independent. Transparency.

This relatively small generation, often forgotten amidst the Boomer and Millennial hubbub, was born between 1965–1979. Xers have developed a reputation for independence and championing transparency, and it all ties back to their formative years. They grew up in a time of ample divorce and more working moms than ever before. As a result, our budding Xers often found themselves home alone after school, and they grew comfortable organizing their own time and working independently. This also meant more time for the newfound 24-hour news cycle, programming that brandished the scandals and lies of corporations, politicians, and celebrities aplenty. Now, we have a fiercely independent, naturally skeptical generation that demands transparency from any and all institutions.

Thinking of your current website, how upfront and direct are you with your mission and what you do? Is your content succinct, or is there perhaps too much fluff? The more honest and clear you can be about your brand identity, the more you’ll engage Xer visitors. Finding ways to highlight how you can contribute to their independence is the other key to capturing this group’s attention. If you don’t offer consideration for their preferences, they won’t think twice about navigating away to find another company that will.

Millennials

Experience-driven. Innovation.

Comparable in size to the Boomer generation, Millennials have attracted formidable media attention over the past decade—appreciated or not. Born from 1980–1995, they’re known for their participation trophies and avocados. But what information actually warrants your serious consideration? For starters, growing up during the tech upgrade cycle had a significant impact on Millennials’ expectations in life. Their world was in a constant state of change, and they learned to always be on the lookout for the next greatest thing. Now, they equally expect brands and organizations to constantly seek opportunities for improvement and innovation.

On top of that, Millennials witnessed the events of 9/11 and school shootings during their impressionable years, and it left a lasting mark on their psyche. They internalized that nothing was guaranteed—determined to make the best of the here and now.

Altogether, this leaves us with a generation that expects innovation and thrives on experiencing all that life has to offer. So, is your web strategy reflective of the internet from 2010 or today? What does the visitor journey look like with your website, and how do you speak to your organization’s ability to contribute to Millennials’ life experiences? These are just a few of the things worth considering for a Millennial-friendly online presence.

Gen Zers

This generation is still coming into their own. There’s much to be researched and learned, but we’ve identified some unique generational behaviors worth noting.

Pay no mind to the rumors of shrinking attention spans; Gen Z is more than capable of devoting their undivided attention to something—they’re just selective about what or who earns it. Although they mostly missed the tech upgrade cycle, Gen Z doesn’t know a time without smartphones and constant internet access. They are endlessly inundated with streams of messaging and information, so they’ve adapted by learning to quickly filter what matters most to them. This means you have to quickly and clearly communicate your value and intentions up front online in order to engage this group. Leaning into quality and strategic visuals can be of great assistance with this as well, since social media has molded Gen Z into strong visual communicators.

There are many layers to consider with your web strategy, and our hope is that with just the right dose of generational know-how, you can more effectively reach your target audience. Curious to know more about how the generations have developed their unique traits and values? We offer speaking engagements and training that delve into this topic more. Give us a ring or send an email—we’re happy to help.