Marketing to Generation C

You’ve heard of Millennials, Generation X and Generation Y. Now comes Generation C. Who it is, what they do, and how to market to them was the subject of a fascinating presentation during yesterday’s PRSA luncheon in downtown Milwaukee. A panel comprised of staff from Bader Rutter, a business marketing agency in Brookfield, Wis., provided a thorough review of this dynamic group.

First, unlike the other groups listed above, Gen C is not age related. The term, coined by rating service Nielsen, means Generation Connected. These folks are defined by their actions, Gen Cmainly through social media. With their smartphone always (or nearly always) on, Gen C’ers are:

Communicating and connecting: among other social media users near and far

Creating: content and posting it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. They are very passionate about brands, and use social media to share their opinions.

Changing: forcing marketers to change they way they do business in light of the exposure brought through these social media posts.

Why should marketers care about this group?

For starters, they’re 2/3 more likely to tell others about their experiences, and they have tremendous purchasing power: Gen C spends in excess of $500 billion annually.

They are more likely to shop online, and 85% of Gen C’ers use other people’s opinions to make buying decisions. This group buys a wide range of consumer goods online, including perishables.

Generation C likes to “show and tell”; sharing all the time and to the world. They talk about their experiences with products (good and bad). They like to be engaged in causes, and are more apt to support like-minded companies.

As “early adopters,” they often are the first to try a product or brand. But, they demand authenticity in product information. Be genuine in your marketing and PR.

Generation C can do most anything on a smartphone, and they’re “doing it on their terms.” The implication for marketers and PR professionals is that their working “canvas” is a screen 4″ – 10″ inches in diameter. Mobile has become the dominant platform for reaching this audience. Your messages must be “very focused and refined.” However, it is still possible to deliver effective messages in that small arena.

They create a lot of content, often more than marketers can adapt to. (Each minute, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Facebook experiences 2,460,000 shares a day. Not all of this is related to business, of course.) Some content is shared via Dark Social, so called because it involves email and other platforms that are private by nature. Gen C relies on these social media messages, often from strangers, to make buying decisions. (One estimate is that Dark Social traffic is 2/3 greater than public social media.)

Generation C seeks an experience with the brand. The panel’s suggestion: “Stop someone in their tracks.” Gen C will instinctively share such experiences.

Companies need to understand that they can’t control the conversation on social media. However, they can use social media to redirect, guide or change the conversation.

Gen C looks for brands that offer real value, and not just in terms of dollars and cents. They seek entertainment and educational value, as well. They expect a personalized reply to their messages, and one devoid of jargon.

As one panel member put it: “It’s not about the content or customer service. It’s the experience behind the brand.”

What are your experiences in marketing to Gen C? Feel free to comment below. And if you found value in this post, please share it so others may benefit from what you and I have written. To contact me, send an email.


Tom Fuszard


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