Brands Searching for Right Multi-Generational Marketing Mix

One thing is certain about consumers: their behaviors, likes and dislikes can be random, and these preferences are not neatly organized, nor predicted, by age. This is why brands are increasingly searching for the right multi-generational marketing mix to maximize their product offerings. And this post will show how that looks in action!


Specifically, we’ll explore the role consumer insights play in focusing your cross-generational marketing with a focus on:

  • Tiffany & Co. campaign shift to focus on a neglected demographic
  • Going beyond demographics for your marketing strategy
  • Applying audience interests to any category

Before we get going, here are a few statistics that speak to the importance of using consumer insights to inform your marketing strategy:

  • Using customer insights to understand your target audience is critical. For instance, Millennials are the most diverse generational group in US history, with 44% being racial or ethnic minorities.
  • Capitalizing on consumer intelligence and market trends is the key to maximizing your advertising dollar and your product reach – and knowing who you’re trying to reach matters. For example, Millennials spend more than $600 billion shopping in the US every year. They also outspend Gen Z and Boomers on entertainment by two-thirds.
  • How consumers shop depends on what they’re shopping for. Consumers tend to visit multiple ecommerce sites when looking for consumer electronics, home items, and furniture. Conversely, shoppers exhibit more brand intent when purchasing in the health/beauty and apparel/accessories categories.

Luxury is a category where brands could be expected to make lots of safe assumptions about consumers. One would expect these consumers would be middle-aged, financially secure professionals – and there is undoubtedly a significant demographic that fits that description. But, as we explore recent online conversations about luxury purchases, we see a couple of unlikely contenders: Gen Z and Boomers.

Gen Z & Boomers Leading Online Luxury Conversations

And we have an example of that Gen Z focus in action . . .

Tiffany & Co. Campaign Shifts to Gen Z Focus

Tiffany & Co. was founded in 1838 and has cemented its place at the pinnacle of the luxury category. The brand was acquired by luxury conglomerate LVMH in 2019 and now has Gen Z firmly in its sights with its new ad campaign.

Many of their social media posts feature young people or celebrities in a nod to Gen Z and younger Millennials – a drastic departure from Tiffany’s ads of yore.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tiffany & Co. (@tiffanyandco)

In a September article, Forbes quotes JCK Online, a jewelry industry publication that said, “it was difficult to find anyone – on social media at least – who liked the campaign.” However, here in December, social listening reveals the brand’s sentiment sitting at an overwhelmingly positive 88% on a scale of -100 to 100.

tiffany summary metrics

Tiffany & Co.’s summary metrics showing a high level of positive brand sentiment. 11/6/21-12/6/21 

It appears that this generational focus came as a shock to many of the old-school customers of the brand. However, there comes a time when brands either innovate or get surpassed by those that do. Although the luxury industry has long reveled in being exclusionary, Tiffany’s perhaps has noticed this next generation doesn’t give a lick about brand loyalty. So, if they want a piece of the Gen Z pie, they must speak their language.

That’s precisely what they are doing in their new ad campaign. And though it may miff its older clientele somewhat, it’s a risk that the brand is wisely willing to take, particularly as its impacts are likely temporary. Ever since the pandemic started, there’s no such thing as business as usual anymore. Tiffany & Co. took the leap to target a new audience, and so far, things are looking fantastic, judging from their social sentiment.

Going Beyond Demographics for Marketing Strategy

Not every brand is in the position to make such a radical leap in their marketing focus – nor do they necessarily need to. That’s because consumer insights derived from social listening make it possible to crosscut your audience for much more than what one finds with standard demographic data. And in so doing, brands can create messaging tailored to psychographic data, such as shared interests, and bypass demographics for a campaign custom-made for your audience.

Relying on demographic data alone is painting your audience with a broad brush and glosses over the nuance that better defines your customer base. To show what we’re talking about, we’ll use the social conversation surrounding Tiffany & Co. over the past month. Below, you’ll find we’ve filtered the discussion only to include positive and neutral mentions and then sorted the remaining audience by interests.


Social media users’ top interests within Tiffany & Co. brand discussion. 11/6/21-12/6/21

We found that fashion, music, and family were the primary interests of the users discussing the brand – outside of jewelry, obviously. So, from a brand perspective, if you don’t want to drastically target an age group to the detriment of another, you could use these customer insights to wrap your brand messaging around as well.

You can also dig further into these interests to find the popular hashtags, artists, brands, and themes your brand can use to make the most impact with your audience. Isolating these consumer insights within your brand conversation is relatively straightforward, and there’s an easy way to find your custom audience speaking within any topic. Let’s check it out.

Applying Audience Interests to any Category

After you’ve sliced and diced your brand conversation for consumer insights and filtered for the attributes that compose your custom audience, you don’t want to waste time manually inputting those filters into each analysis you run. Your social listening tools should have the capability to save your filters as a theme so you can quickly input them into a conversation and find how your audience feels about a subject.

That’s what we did here with a portion of Tiffany’s audience. We created a simple theme comprised of their top interests: music, family, and fashion. So, when you’re brainstorming campaign ideas, you can input the theme into the topic to search for further consumer insights you can use with your brand messaging.

For instance, involving emerging trends in your brand narrative is always a great idea. Sustainability is top of mind with consumers these days, and you can use your theme to find your audience there. Here, we’ve shown the overall conversation surrounding ocean plastic in the top view and then applied our theme to the bottom view to show the difference.


General ocean plastic conversation (top), filtered by audience interest theme (bottom). 9/6/21-12/6/21.

We can see that over the past three months, our audience just became active in this conversation in November. Our audience is much more optimistic at 85% positive sentiment than the general discussion, which stands at -10%. And going back into our psychographic attributes, we can see that family interests are carrying the weight of our audience at 82% of the narrative.

Now that we’ve tied our audience interests to a narrative we want to include in our messaging, we can dig into this conversation further for customer insights related to brand mentions, people, terms, hashtags, popular posts, authors, and trending sub-topics. It’s the quickest way to the marketing trifecta of audience interest, emerging trends, and brand relevancy. You’re now in the vicinity of the subject matter you can include in your messaging that helps you bridge the generational divide.

And it’s from here that you can tweak your themes to uncover the variations that would appeal to different generations if necessary. In that manner, you can adjust your messaging for each group while keeping them all on the same page.

Is your brand’s marketing potential held back from a lack of actionable customer insights? Reach out for a demo, and we’ll put the voice of the customer at your fingertips for pinpoint marketing accuracy.


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