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Social Marketing: How to Reach Gens X, Y ,& Z. Presenter: Christina Campbell Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. Overview. Define Social Marketing Sources Four Life Cycles Four Life Phases Four Generation Types Boomers Gen X Gen Y Gen Z

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Social marketing how to reach gens x y z
Social Marketing:How to Reach Gens X, Y ,& Z


Christina Campbell

Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education


  • Define Social Marketing

  • Sources

  • Four Life Cycles

  • Four Life Phases

  • Four Generation Types

    • Boomers

    • Gen X

    • Gen Y

    • Gen Z

  • CGS Primary Target Audience – Gen Y

  • Sample Marketing Script

Social marketing definition
Social Marketing Definition

The use of marketing principles and techniques to influence a target audience to voluntarily accept, reject, modify, or abandon a behavior for the benefit of individuals, groups, or society as a whole.

From Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life, by Philip Kotler


William Strauss and Neil Howe

  • Renowned Historians - Experts in American History & Generations

  • Studied American generations from the first Puritans to now

  • Co-authored “Generations”

Social marketing how to reach gens x y z

Everyone has a “life-course” from birth to death…

While the details are always NEW…

the underlying rhythms are not!

The 4 th turning prediction
The 4th Turning Prediction

“America will enter an era of crisis - an era of political and social upheaval - that will extend until the 2020s.  And we believe it will be a major threshold in the nation's history, climaxing with events on par with the Revolution, the Civil War, or WWII”

1991- Generations,1997- The Fourth Turning

Four life phases
Four Life Phases

Seasons of Life

  • Childhood - age 0-20

  • Young Adult - age 21-41

  • Midlife - age 42-62

  • Elderhood - age 63-83

Prophet life cycle
Prophet Life Cycle

  • Boomers (1943-1963)

    • Childhood- High

      Nurtured with increasing indulgence by optimistic adults in a secure environment

    • Young Adulthood- Awakening

      Self-absorbed, challenging the moral failure of the elder-built institutions, sparking a society-wide spiritual awakening

    • Midlife- Unraveling

      Preach a downbeat, values, ethics, moral conviction.

    • Elderhood-Crisis

      As visionaries they push to resolve deepening moral choices, setting the stage for the goals of the young.

Prophet endowments
Prophet Endowments

  • Boomers (1943-1963)

    • Indulged as children, they become increasingly protective as parents (late Boomers are early helicopter parents)

    • Principal attributes are in the domain of vision, values, religion

    • Principled moralists, wagers of righteous wars

    • Revered more for inspiring words than deeds

    • Remembered best for their “coming of age” passion

Well known prophets
Well-Known Prophets

  • Boomers (1943-1963)

    • Bill & Hillary Clinton

    • Newt Gingrich

    • Steven Spielberg

    • Spike Lee

    • Barack Obama

Professions of prophets
Professions of Prophets

  • Boomers (1943-1963)

    • Teachers

    • Philosophers

    • Historians

    • Writers

    • Journalists

    • Commentators

    • Lawyers (Public Defenders)

Social marketing strategies
Social Marketing Strategies

  • Boomers (1943-1963)

    • Pathos Appeal (emotional) - Don’t litter, Smokey the bear, Teach the world to sing

    • Print - This generation still subscribes to newspapers and hangs on to their yellow pages!

    • Network TV, Radio - Grew up with only 3 networks, and AM radio

Nomad life cycle
Nomad Life Cycle

  • Gen X (1963-1981)

    • Childhood- Awakening

      Left under-protected as children parents in adult self-discovery

    • Young Adulthood- Unraveling

      Become brazen free agents, lending their “pragmatism” and practical way of thinking; deal with problems of independence to an era of growing social turmoil.

    • Midlife- Crisis

      Apply toughness & resolution to defend society, while safeguarding the interests of their young

    • Elderhood-High

      Exhausted, they slow the pace of social change shunning the old crusades in favor of simplicity & survivalism

Nomad endowments
Nomad Endowments

  • Gen X (1963-1981)

    • Under-protected as children they become overprotective parents (true helicopter parents)

    • Attributes are in the domain of liberty, survival, honor, and doing it alone

    • Cunning, hard-to-fool realists, tenacious warriors who prefer to meet problems and adversaries ‘one on one’

    • Known for their young adult years of ‘hell raising’ & tattoos

    • In midlife they have a ‘hands-on get-it-done” leadership

    • Biggest volunteer military

      • Army of One

    • Inventors of “EXTREME” sports

Well known nomads
Well-Known Nomads

  • Gen X

    • Johnny Depp

    • Charles Barkley

    • Kobe Bryant

    • Brett Favre

    • Wynona Ryder

    • Britney Spears

    • Angelina Jolie

Professions of nomads
Professions of Nomads

  • Gen X (1963-1981)

    • Sales (Pharmaceuticals & etc)

    • Marketing

    • Creative Advertising (1st Generation of MTV)

    • Professional Athletes

    • Military

    • Lawyers (Prosecutors)

    • White Collar Scammers (Persuasive)

      More “Survivor” TV show winners!!

      (18 of 20)

Marketing strategies
Marketing Strategies

  • Gen X (1963-1981)

    • Ethos Appeal (character-credible)

      Spokesperson must be an authority with command

      • Sports figures work well (Gen X are inventers of EXTREME sports)

      • Don’t need to be “Without a blemish”

  • TV, Cable, Radio, Email, MTV

  • Be straight forward & Direct

    This is your brain PSA….

  • No BS…. Use Intelligence

    PBS, Documentaries, Learning Channel

  • Get to the point

  • Adventure

  • In short…. be REAL! (Gen X are Inventors of Reality Shows)

Hero life cycle
Hero Life Cycle

  • Gen Y (1982-2000)

    • Childhood-Unraveling

      Overprotected by helicopter parents in an insecure environment

    • Young Adulthood- Crisis

      Working as teams, they challenge the political failure of elder-led crusades, fueling a society-wide secular crisis

      Obama Election (raised as children when Clinton was President)

    • Midlife- High

      Powerful, influential, they establish an upbeat…constructive ethic of social discipline

    • Elderhood- Awakening

      Expansive, they orchestrate ever grander secular constructions, setting the stage for the spiritual goals of the young

Hero endowments
Hero Endowments

  • Gen Y (1982-2000)

    • Activities are in the domain of “community”, affluence, and technology

    • Function in groups, an electronic & digital age, virtual reality

    • Are multi-taskers and vigorous and rational institution-builders

    • Advocates of economic prosperity & open-minded optimism

    • Grew up watching “Friends”, “Will & Grace”

    • Have a reputation for civic energy and competence

    • Young politicians and biggest “volunteer” group

    • Best known for their achievements

    • Want to “change the world” – are Eco-friendly

Well known heroes
Well Known Heroes

  • Gen Y

    • Zac Efron

    • Jonas Brothers

    • Justin Bieber

    • Corbin Bleu

    • Ashley Tisdale

    • Selena Gomez

    • Miley Cyrus

    • Rihanna

Professions of heroes
Professions of Heroes

  • Gen Y (2000- 2015)

    • Politics

    • Entertainment

    • Electronic Media

    • Web

    • Internet

    • Civic Organizations

      They lived through 9.11, and Katrina

Marketing strategies1
Marketing Strategies

  • Gen Y (1982-2000)

    • Logos (logical)

    • Humor - Eat more fruits & veggies PSA

    • Internet, Radio, TV

    • Social Media - Facebook, My Space, Twitter (Social Networking)

    • Very little print

      • This generation doesn’t have the time to read…

      • And they invented their own text language, anyway…which differs greatly!

    • Harmony - Save the planet and environment

Artist life cycle
Artist Life Cycle

  • Gen Z (2000-2020)

    • Childhood- Crisis

      They are overprotected at a time of political shakiness, and adult self-sacrifice

    • Young Adulthood- High

      As conformists, they become sensitive helpmates lending their expertise & cooperation to an era of growing calm

    • Midlife- Awakening

      Indecisive, they apply expertise & process to improve society while calming the passions of the young

      • Remember the Beaver Cleaver days?

  • Elderhood- Unraveling

    As empathetic elders they quicken the pace of social change shunning the old order in favor of complexity and sensitivity

Artist endowments
Artist Endowments

Gen Z (2000-2020)

  • Impatient, instant results,

  • Unlike Gen Y they are INDIVIDUALISTIC


  • Overprotected as children they become underprotective as parents

  • Activities in the domain of pluralism (diversity), expertise, and due process.

    • Growing up under the first African American President, 1st Latino supreme court judge, openly gay politicians

  • Advocates of fair play and politics of inclusion

    • No child left behind

    • Obesity a big issue

    • Will become most expert & credentialed of political leaders.

      Sandra Day O’Conner…Colin Powell

Well known artists
Well Known Artists

Gen Z

  • Frankie Jonas

  • Ella Travolta

  • Jaden Smith

  • Willow Smith

  • Noah Cyrus

Professions of artists
Professions of Artists

  • Judges

    • Express their mind and opinion online

  • Musicians/Singers/Dancers/Actors

    • American Idol

    • High School Musical

    • Dancing with the Stars

  • Engineers

    • Most-educated of all the generations

  • Internet Technology

  • CSI

    • Able to collect and process information quickly

Marketing strategies2
Marketing Strategies

Gen Z (2000-2020)

  • World Wide Web - Highly Connected…everything is online from birth

    • Class work

    • Games

    • Socializing

  • Phone Apps

  • YouTube

    • Digital Natives no longer limited to home PC’s

    • MP3 players, iPhones, iPads, internet carried in their pocket

  • Virtual Reality Games… lack interpersonal communication skills but build communities online

  • Instant messaging and text messages (email is too old)

  • TV, Radio

Cgs targeting gen y 1982 2000




Like Originality

Education is a top 5 issue

EXPECT to go to college

Key Values







Giving (9.11, Katrina),


97% computer; 94% cell phone; 75% Facebook; 1/3 use Web as main source of news



Quick and Easy… “When the going gets tough Gen Y moves on…

Doesn’t have the time to read a lot

No silver bullet


CGS Targeting Gen Y (1982-2000)

Social marketing how to reach gens x y z

The goal therefore...Is NOT to persuade them that they need to go to college…It’s to communicate to them HOW they can go

Social marketing how to reach gens x y z

It isn’t enough to know the

Information… USE IT

Messages need to
Messages need to…

  • Be clear and straightforward… don’t waste their time... get to the point

  • Tell them what they should do

  • Humor

  • Free

Basic model of communication
Basic Model of Communication

  • Sender- Credibility: Is it the right person?

  • Message- Content: Is it your audience’s speed?

  • Channel- Mode: How are you reaching them?

  • Receiver- Target: Did you reach your audience and did they hear your message the way you intended?

    • Barrier/Problem

    • Ask them/Tell them

    • Value

    • Vision/Benefit/Solution

Messaging example
Messaging Example….

Need money for college? (Barrier/Problem).

Fill out the FAFSA (Tell them what to do).

It’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Fill it out now and you could get thousands of dollars for college.

Wait until summer and you may get less.

Think you’re too rich to qualify? You’ll probably still have to fill

out the FAFSA to get loans and scholarships.

Get free help on Sunday January 31 at these sites across

Alaska (Value).

CGS and the FAFSA - your ticket to a higher education.



Four Generation Types

  • Boomers- Prophets… Idealists… Pathos (emotion)

  • Gen X- Nomads… Reactive…Ethos (credibility)

  • Gen Y-… Civics….. Heroes….Logos (logic)

  • Gen Z- Artists… Adaptives… all three-Fairness

    CGS Target Gen Y

Social marketing how to reach gens x y z

Thank you

Christina Campbell

Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education

(907) 269-7981