This paper deals with the study of generations for marketing purposes, mirroring a belief that
the generation dimension has been underemphasized in marketing research and practice. It
has been suggested that generational cohorts are superior to age as segmentation variable.
However, as this paper emphasizes, understanding characteristics of and differences across
generations brings advantages into many areas of marketing.
The results are based on a model that deals with four levels of analysis: society and its
dominant values, the market environment, the social environment and individuals.
Generation Y and their role in consumer markets is used as an empirical example and
illustration. Data on Generation Y are contrasted with data on Baby Boomers, individuals
born . The paper reveals some crucial characteristics of the Generation Y cohort. Individuals
belonging to this generational cohort, born between 1978 and 1990, have grown up in a
branded society overcrowded with commercial messages and a never-ending supply of choices
and opportunities. In consumer markets, they are demanding, aware of their rights and their
loyalty is limited. They see brands as an integrated part of consumption and personal imagebuilding.
Producers, on the other hand, struggle with intensive competition and
manufacturing overcapacity in many industries. The study presents some challenging
implications of how companies can benefit from considering Generation Y in product
development, market communication and the choice of marketing channels. Moreover, by
contrasting Generation Y and Baby Boomers, critical dimensions of a generational marketing
approach are suggested.
2011. 1-22 p.