Your guide to multigeneration online characteristics

A helicopter view into what you think you already know about the digital generation…

By Dr. Karling Lee

Picture the following scenario: You decide to move the advertising and promotion budget from physical to digital channels to align with the trends and enhance the user experience. A slew of social media marketing campaigns take place in various mainstream and key social media. However, the results are discouraging because although the number of “likes” within the social media pages have increased, conversion rate is low. The campaigns do not seem to make a dent into the sales volume though the social media expenses are creeping up.

If the above sounds familiar then, there is a need to review the scramble toward social media marketing to capture the attention of the multigenerational consumers.

In Asia, today’s major consumers are made up of at least six (6) different generations as follows:

Boomers – born before 1965. Many are retiring or retired and have less disposal income. The main social media platform is Facebook though WhatsApp and WeChat are also the staple.

Gen X – born between 1965 – 1979. These consumers are in the either more senior positions, or are starting to stabilize the income. However, the expenses are going to the young adult children who are embarking on tertiary education. The single Gen Xers are excellent consumers as they buy everything and anything on a wimp and fancy. They absolutely adore Facebook and though the younger Gen Xers are also on Instagram (IG), it is mainly due to the Gen Z young adults that they have.

Cusper Y – born between 1980-1984 (unique to Asia). Many are earning relatively high income and have sufficient disposal income to splurge on personal interest. They are receptive of any social media platform as long as it meets their needs.

Gen Y – born between 1985-1997 or 1999 (definition differs across Asia). This is the most lucrative consumer group with medium to high disposal income and Boomer parents to bail out if over-spent. Globally, they also form the largest consumer population. Social media marketing often gets to them if appropriately focused on them. They love everything that bears a “Brand” and the more well-known the Brand, the better. Price is never a consideration. The common social media platform is mainly Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, etc. They are not selective. The more platforms, the better.

Cusper Z – born around 1998-2001 or thereabouts (as definition also differs across Asia). This group is engaged in social media, but will be attracted only to specific social media platforms and campaigns. Have varied interests and groups though the spending power is relatively high. This group is beginning to be wary of social media, and though may have a social media presence in Facebook and Instagram (IG), are less likely to engage with the platform consistently for posting.

Gen Z – in Asia, they are born from 2000-2001 onwards till about 2015. Many of them have started embarking on entrepreneurship from as young as 13 years old. Practicality defines them though the Gen Zs in Asia can be further divided into three 3 distinct categories. They are smart online consumers where they will check out various websites or platforms before making an informed decision. One of the key influencing factors is the number of reviews for the product and the ranking of the reviews. A very price and quality conscious group of consumers who look more for value for money as well as the company’s overall image and reputation, but not the product brand. This group is relatively similar to the Cusper Gen Z in Asia who tend to shy away from social media though will access to download games or watch movies and so forth. YouTube is more their thing as well as TikTok or “touying” (Chinese version of TikTok).

With the above characteristics that are quite different, what digital marketing strategy do you need to think about and to whom should you focus on?

Dr. Karling Lee is an annual favourite at the Malaysian CMO Conference, her groundbreaking studies are highly-sought out by marketers who know what works best for their brands. Her expertise in deciphering the digital generattion is based on real time surveys and reporting.

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