Learn
Learn
Close

They Ask, You Answer

A revolutionary approach to inbound sales, content marketing, and today’s digital consumer.

Learn MoreLearn More

Free Courses in IMPACT+

Dozens of sales, marketing, and content courses inside IMPACT+. Start learning now.

See all coursesSee all courses
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Coaching & Implementation Services
Coaching & Implementation Services
Close

Services Overview

See how you can dramatically increase your inbound leads and sales.

Services Overview

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Fast track your team’s success with IMPACT's most popular service.

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Web Design

Launch a beautiful website that consistently generates leads and revenue.

Web Design

Virtual Sales Training

Equip your sales team with comprehensive training designed to help them close more deals in today's virtual-first world.

Virtual Sales Training

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Train your company to take ownership of HubSpot and get the most out of your investment.

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Case Studies

See dozens of examples of companies succeeding with Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery and They Ask, You Answer.

Case Studies
Become a Coach
Become a Coach
Close

New research: Market to ‘tribes’ rather than generational labels

New research: Market to ‘tribes’ rather than generational labels Blog Feature

Kaitlyn Petro

VP of Operations, IMPACT+, 7+ Years Of Digital Marketing Strategy, Operations/Project Management, & Process Creation Experience

December 20th, 2019 min read

Generational labels have long existed, but they’ve become somewhat of an up-and-coming trend within recent years. We have the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, and Thirteeners. But did you know that as of today, Millennials and Generation Z — individuals who were born after the year 1981 — make up 64% of the world’s entire population?

That’s 4.7 billion people.

Yeah, my jaw dropped when I learned that, too.

Furthermore, by 2020 (that’s literally less than two weeks away…), Gen-Z is projected to surpass Millennials as the biggest global generation.

With that said, shouldn’t we be thinking about the way we market towards these generations? The short answer is “yes.” But how exactly do we do that?

For so long, marketers have created buyer personas and documented target audiences primarily based on age, location, and gender. While that’s seemed to work, it can’t be ignored that the way we think about who we’re targeting needs to be upgraded and improved, especially when it comes to social media and how the newer generations are connecting within the digital space.

In perhaps one of the most popular TED Talks ever presented, Seth Godin speaks about the emergence of tribes and how “the internet was supposed to homogenize everyone by connecting us all. Instead what it's allowed is silos of interest.”

What he means is that in today’s digitally-influenced world, our thoughts, behaviors, and habits have enabled the creation of modern tribes — audiences united by a shared mindset, rather than age or location.

There are 4.7 billion Millennials and Gen-Zers in this world; they can’t all possibly be interested in the same thing or the same messaging just because of the similarity of their age.

What’s a modern tribe in the marketing world?

According to a recent article by Forbes, we need to ditch the old customer segmentation strategy we’re used to and start to focus on the rise of modern tribes because targeting generational labels just isn’t working anymore.

The way we market to these tribes can no longer be predicted by demographics that once seemed so influential.

For example, Donald Trump and Barack Obama are considered to be a part of the same Baby Boomer generation, but knowing their polar opposite personalities, you wouldn’t approach them with the same marketing message, would you? The same goes for the nearly five billion people that make up the Millennial and Gen-Z generations.

And with the more customer-centric experience social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram give their users, these tribes have the autonomy to control how they want to be marketed to.

Michael Bayler, co-author of Promiscuous Customers: Invisible Brands — Delivering Value in Digital Markets, notes that "Consumers use social media to filter, resist and reject irrelevant or uninteresting messages, so the tribal consumer is quite happy, amusing himself in his own digital sandpit without having to give attention to advertisements in order to get media the way we used to.”

With the vast amount of behavioral and attitudinal insights we have available to us today, it’s easier now, more than ever, to create an accurate representation of real people — people who we want to market to, and who want us to market to them.

Applying this in your marketing plan

Knowing all of this, the first step in transitioning to a more tribe-based marketing focus includes taking a hard look at your buyer personas and customer segmentation strategy.

Take the time to identify the ways you may be targeting age, gender, location, or income. Then think about the opportunities that may come by targeting similar interests, hobbies, or challenges instead.

Today’s tribes want to do business with brands who understand them, brands who make them feel important.

Netflix, for example, doesn’t show me movies and shows I may like solely based on the fact that I’m a 28-year-old female. Rather, it displays content that is similar to what it knows I watch and enjoy. Netflix even makes this well-known on its website: “The recommendations system does not include demographic information (such as age or gender) as part of the decision making process.”

Another great example of a big brand investing in tribal marketing is Tommy Bahama. Instead of focusing on selling to empty-nester corporate executives who long to escape to the islands, the company simply portrays the “beach life” theme — something that appeals to men and women of all ages, careers, and locations.

With this focus, Tommy Bahama was able to broaden its target market and even take success a step further by developing its own chain of popular restaurants.

By taking this approach and leveraging customer behavioral insights, such-minded organizations have started to outperform their competitors by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in sales margin, according to research by Gallup.

While shifting away from the traditional way of demographic marketing isn’t necessarily an easy undertaking, the additional research and effort shows promise in producing benefits that justify the short-term cost.

Take the jewelry company De Beers Group. They were able to generate over $6.1 billion dollars in sales in 2012 (a year that started with a decrease in revenue) by focusing on the expectations of their target tribe. For them, this happened to be women who wanted to get married.

HubSpot tells the rest of the story, which includes De Beers recreating an age-old tradition that resonated with the members of the tribe: getting the modern-day Prince Charming to prove his chivalry. And how could he do this? By buying an expensive diamond ring, of course.

If we can learn one thing from these successful organizations, it’s that researching, identifying, and engaging your own tribe is worth taking the risk to acquire the next generation of modern consumers.

Instead of marketing to billions, we can find a smaller audience that's sure to be more receptive.

Want to learn more about digital sales and marketing?

Master digital sales and marketing when you join IMPACT+ for FREE. Gain instant access to exclusive courses and keynotes taught by Marcus Sheridan, Brian Halligan, Liz Moorehead, Ann Handley, David Cancel, Carina Duffy, Zach Basner, and more.

Sign up for free
Take a peek

Access hundreds of FREE courses and keynotes

Free Course
Digital Sales & Marketing Framework for Today’s Buyers
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
A New Way to Compete & Win
By: Brian Halligan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
How To Genuinely Feel Confident, Be Likable, And Build Trust On Camera
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Future of Marketing is Conversational​
By: David Cancel
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
HubSpot On a Budget: Getting Started with HubSpot Starter Hubs
By: Courtney Caldwell
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Assignment Selling: Content is Your Greatest Sales Tool
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Big, Bold, Brave New World of Marketing​
By: Ann Handley
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Investing in Incredible Digital Sales and Marketing Results
By: Chris Duprey
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
How To Show Your Content Makes Money With HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
The Visual Sale
By: Marcus Sheridan & Tyler Lessard
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Marketing Tech: What’s Now, What’s Near and What’s Not Anytime Soon?​
By: Dharmesh Shah
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Inbound Lead Generation & Conversion Optimization
By: Carina Duffy
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
Fundamentals of Videography: You Can Be a Great Videographer Too
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
The Ultimate Customer Service Toolkit for Any Budget
By: Andriti Gulati
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
6 Topics Subject Matter Experts Need to Address
By: Kevin Phillips
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Fanocracy: The Power of Making Business Personal​
By: David Meerman Scott
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Power of Pillar Content
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
SEO for the Future
By: Franco Valentino
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing
By: Stephanie Baiocchi
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
A Practical Guide To Video Graphics
By: Colton Trcic
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Session
How To Get Your Community To Know, Like, And Trust You With Video
By: Marki Lemons Rhyal
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Video Sales and Marketing Strategy
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Here Are Some Related Articles You May Find Interesting

Want to Contribute Content to impactplus.com? Click Here.

IMPACT+ Sign Up
A FREE online learning community with on-demand courses, hundreds of expert-led sessions, thousands of your peers ready to support you, and much more.
Check it out
Hundreds of courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE
Check it out
Access hundreds of digital sales and marketing courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE