Got milk? Not in this generation. 

Anyone amongst the millennial and boomer generations recognizes the iconic tagline of the ‘Got Milk’ Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) campaign. How could you not? Back when drinking dairy was hot and featuring the latest and greatest celebrity endorsements children were downing dairy like no tomorrow. And their purchasing parents were fully on board with the cow milk craze. 

Check out Bluetext’s work with MilkPEP and Chocolate.

But fast forward 20 years and some may say dairy is dead. Dairy milk, at least, has been replaced in the rankings with an endless number of plant-based alternatives that promote various health benefits. According to the Pew Research Center, dairy milk consumption is down 20% among members of Generation Z — who range from ages 11 to 26. From allergy-free, vegan diets, to plain old tastes, there are infinite reasons why alternative dairy products have taken off in recent years. Whether it be soy, almond, oat, cashew, coconut, or even pistachio, the infinite varieties have flooded the marketplace with fresh-faced brands and highly competitive campaigns. Big players like Silk, Chobani, Blue Diamond, Oatly, and many more have used engaging and eye-catching brand campaigns that have ultimately won over millennial and Gen Z audiences. 

With milk drinkers dwindling, the dairy industry initiated a rebrand to bring the milk back into the fridges of American households. With the new GonnaNeedMilk campaign, the dairy industry is tapping into its legacy position and nutritional benefits as the “O.G. Sports Drink”. 

Yin Woon Rani, chief executive of MilkPEP, told the New York Times: “We have to reclaim milk’s mojo…We sometimes refer to milk as the O.G. sports drink, powering athletes for 10,000 years.” Specifically targeting athletes, particularly women marathon runners, the campaign serves to remind audiences of milk’s natural protein and essential nutrients through endorsements by star athletes, fitness influencers, marathon sponsorships, and more. 

Regardless if you’re team milk or team plant-based, this campaign is just one example of generational marketing and the nuances that come with every demographic. No matter what you’re selling, it’s paramount you understand your audience and the beliefs or biases they have adopted. Generational marketing uses age group segmentation to select communication tactics that each age group or generation is most likely to respond to. This can take the form of marketing channels, messages or campaign types. For example, a brand trying to reach Gen X audiences might opt for Facebook over TikTok advertising. Each generation uses technology and social media differently, and some have more brand loyalty than others. In any effective digital marketing campaign, careful time and consideration should be given to the following:

  • Defining your target audience 
  • Sub-segmenting your audience by distinct personas
  • Market research into persona behavior & decision making
  • Catering messaging & channels to specific personas 
  • Test, evaluate, and adapt strategies

While your campaign may have a broad goal and multiple audiences, it is best to start at the highest level and then work down the funnel to refine your strategy.

For example, studies reveal Baby Boomers (1946-1964) are less comfortable with technology, therefore trend toward brands they know and trust often promoted on more traditional channels. Customer loyalty programs and emphasis on company legacy are powerful motivators. Gen X on the other hand (1965-1976) is hesitant about change and innovation, preferring proven methods and frictionless adoption. They are most responsive to campaigns that play on nostalgic feelings, word of mouth, and user testimonials. Millennials (1977-1995) were the first generation exposed to modern technology, therefore they are more comfortable with social media marketing, user-generated content, and influencer campaigns. Despite having the broadest age range and variety of interests, most millennials share a desire for authenticity and brands that promote social and environmental causes. They aren’t opposed to multi-channel digital marketing targeting but value honest reviews and brands that support causes close to their values. Last but not least, the Gen Z group (1996-present) has a reputation for being tied to their mobile devices and being the most tech-savvy. They respond most to social media marketing, especially in the form of influencer reviews & short-form video content. They seek recommendations and validation from their peers, especially through mobile apps. 

With these preferences in mind, companies should always consider what outreach strategies are best fit for their user personas. And when multiple generations are thrown in the mix, it’s best to segment your campaign by platform or key messages to target these groups most effectively. For example, if you are promoting a new business software geared towards Gen X and millennial audiences you may want to run an email campaign targeting Gen X leads with the clear promotion of testimonials. But for your Millennial audience, you may want to set up a LinkedIn targeting campaign that promotes your brand values and user-generated content. 

Generational marketing can take many forms. And while key differences in channels and messaging exist and should be considered, there are similarities that can bridge your marketing strategies. Honesty and integrity are characteristics that consumers look for from brands, straightforward communication, and authentic reviews from real users are effective across generations. And while present across generations, there is a growing preference for personalized experiences and one-to-one communications with trusted brands.

Looking to enhance your marketing strategy? Contact Bluetext to learn about our campaign services and how we can help optimize your marketing efforts across demographics.