Brands looking to embrace a mass personalisation approach to marketing need to rethink their generational targeting strategy in order to drive consumer engagement and business growth, according to a new report from Zenith.

Targeting by age is still the accepted practice across many advertising categories. But with fundamental shifts in media consumption and trading, combined with significant changes in life stages and consumer behaviour, Zenith believes that targeting by a traditional demographic approach is no longer effective when the goal is serving relevant advertising and personalisation of experiences at scale.

In its latest report, Generation Z is Not the Next Big Thing, Zenith advocates rethinking targeting to take a ‘perennial’ approach. The term was coined by marketing guru Gina Pell, and, embracing this, Zenith believes that marketers need to shift their focus from age in favour of mindset, behavioural change and disposable income.

In the report, Zenith argues that targeting by age is no longer effective when many cultures around the world are seeing changes in the pattern of life events.

For example the report highlights changes to disposable income. Today, many young people around the world aren’t spending like previous generations as they struggling with housing affordability, student debt and finding a steady job.

Nickie Scriven, CEO, Zenith Australia

Nickie Scriven, CEO, Zenith Australia said, “The key trends identified in the report is reflective of what’s occurring in Australia. What we see is that behaviour is now less aligned to age and demographics. Life has become less predictable, with a greater diversity of life journeys now possible and acceptable.”

Scriven said there is a spending power shift to older generations, while disruptive behaviour is no longer the domain of the young.

According to Scriven, targeting based on audience behaviour and attitudes rather than broad demographic segments, becomes even more important considering the increasing fragmentation of the media and the explosion of consumer choice in the media landscape.

Ben Lukawski, Global Head of Strategy at Zenith said, “We are seeing that some of the most effective marketing approaches, while labelled as appealing to a specific generation, are actually engaging like-minded people of all generations. Rethinking targeting is going to be critical for marketers who want to serve relevant advertising and embrace personalisation at scale.”

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