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Generation Gem and How to Market to Them

Johnny Molson

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Hidden in the flurry of marketing activity around Millennials and the up-and-coming Gen Z, is a diamond group of cohorts called Generation Gem.

Research shows this generation to be one of the most lucrative generations in a generation.

Generation Gem is indecisive.  They’re looking for someone to help make decisions for them, and this is a likely death knell for the over-choice connected to Doordash or GrubHub.

What makes Generation Gem so potentially valuable is their ability to learn and adapt quickly.  They “take naturally to information resources and once they choose a solution, they lock onto it,” according to data.  Brand loyalty will be important for Gems, and when you’ve got one…you’ve got one for life (hence the name “gem”).

Research from A.Z.S. notes that Gem’s “craving for travel, music, and live experiences” will cause them to be primed for post-COVID concerts, theater, and events.  Bars and venues ignoring this generation will miss them and their dollars.

Generation Gem is born between May 21 and June 20 of any year.  Their lucky numbers are 5, 7, 14, and 23.  They are sociable and fun, but also introverted and serious.  Many live in the inner-city, while an equal number live in rural areas.  Family is important to them, and they dislike confined spaces.

What?

What’s wrong?

You think only a fool would market to people born under the sign of Gemini?

What’s that?  You can apply those traits to just about anybody??

And therein is the folly of marketing to Millennials or Zillennials or Left-Handedials.

You know what those generations are?  They’re normal.  According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Millennials (get this) appear to like both individuality and collaboration.  Can you believe that?  These new-fangled freaks like “regular feedback at work” and they’re “looking for financial stability.”

In other words:  Pretty normal.

As I remove my tongue from my cheek, I challenge you to investigate this:  Are “these kids today” seriously different from you? 

Newsweek recently decried a generation of “spoiled, self-indulgent, overgrown adolescents.”  A generation “indulged with every toy, game, and electronic device available. They didn’t even have to learn how to amuse themselves since Mom and Dad were always there to ferry them from one organized activity to another.”

By “recent article” I mean 1993.  And by “a generation,” I mean Gen X. 

They called us The Whiny Generation.

If Gen Z is lazy and self-indulgent…and Millennials are lazy and self-indulgent…and X-ers were lazy and self-indulgent…and Boomers were “long-haired freaky people…” was there ever a time when the present generation didn’t look at the next generation as a beginning of the end?

Here’s a quote that may sound familiar: “Our youths now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect for older people. Children nowadays are tyrants.  They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.”

Sounds like your mean old grandfather.  Or out of touch assistant principal.

How about Socrates, 450 BC.

Yes, there are surface differences in the upcoming generations.  But that’s about all that’s different.  The brush isn’t as broad as you might think.  Think less about age groups, and more about groups that share traits. 

A first-time mother, for example, might be a single woman at 22, or a married PhD at 38.  They fall into different “generations,” but their hopes, fears, and needs line up perfectly.  This is where generational assumptions and demographics fail us.   

The stuff that makes us all tick, the inner workings of our DNA, the animalistic selfishness that dates back to Gilgamesh…hasn’t changed.  And it’s not going to change anytime soon.

Sociologists and ethnographers can give insight into generational cohorts. It’s fascinating, and fascinatingly complex. You absolutely should research the habits and attitudes of your customers. But do it with open eyes, and resist cherry-picking random traits that likely match your own confirmation bias.

When your marketing is speaking to people about the things that make people who they are, you will succeed. 

When your marketing smells of pander because you “know what ‘that generation’ wants,” you will be sniffed out and sent packing. 

Every time.

Johnny Molson

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