Andrea Wilson

The latest survey results from iProspect looks at the differences within each of the three generational groups: Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers.

Meet the Affluent Influencers.

This story first appeared in the October 9, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Andrea Wilson, vice president and strategy director who heads up the luxury practice at iProspect, a digital performance agency, spoke about “Affluent Influencers: How Marketers Can Understand Their Generational Differences & Tap Into Their Authority.”

She disclosed the latest survey results and how the affluent influencers, a subgroup within each of the three generational groups, Millennials, Gen-X and Baby Boomers, have three important elements going for them that marketers might want to keep in mind. They have financial means, attention and authority within their peer group and access to information and platforms to voice their opinions.

Affluent influencers in general have an annual household income of a minimum of $100,000. By gender, 60 percent are male and 40 percent are female. By ethnicity, they are mostly white, with greater diversity in the Millennial and Gen-X generations.

Among the differences by generation, Millennial influencers need to be accepted and have the approval of others. For them, friendships are most important, and they’re motivated by money, making frequent impulse purchases. As for lifestyle, this group is very social, Wilson said, noting that they are also “very digital,” and make online purchases daily, often on their mobile phones.

Wilson said while those in the Gen-X group don’t need as much approval as their younger counterparts they need more than Boomers, but also value their friendships. “They make impulse purchases, but money is not the best success measure,” she said. This group is slightly less active in their social networking. They make purchases weekly and get their news digitally.

The Baby Boomer generation does not need the approval of others, and while they too value friendships, they are the ones who calculate their spending, “preferring to spend to save time.” Wilson said this group is the least active digitally, preferring to socialize in person. They make much of their purchases on a monthly basis, with most online shopping done at a desktop. This is the group that is most likely to read the print version of newspapers.

As for do’s and don’ts when targeting the different age groups, one has to capture the attention of Millennials quickly, and marketers can’t ignore the mobile channel. For Gen-X, mobile is still important, but marketers should invest in search and content, and this group likes to research products. The Baby Boomers also spend time doing online research, but since they’re most likely to read the print version of newspapers, Wilson’s advice is “don’t overlook local newspapers” when targeting this generation. And since this group isn’t as digital as their younger counterparts, “don’t expect them to start social conversations” online.

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