From generation X to Z: What characterizes them?

Communication with companies is also always first and foremost communication with people. At the other end of the line or table is always a person who can never completely free himself or herself from his or her own impressions and attitudes, imprints and personal goals as well as from his or her very own background of values. That is why it is also crucial in B2B marketing to understand what kind of person you are dealing with on the customer side. This is even more important when addressing potential specialists for your own company.

There are certain formative differences in values between the individual generations that cannot be ignored. Of course, these can never be completely generalized, but on average, studies repeatedly confirm certain patterns in the thinking and acting of certain birth cohorts. These differences are often based on changes in the living conditions under which these people grow up or have grown up. In addition, there are drastic events that can shape a generation. And last but not least, the constant changes are also based on the experience of the respective parent generation and the targeted differentiation from it.

What is the difference between the generations X, Y and Z?

Generation X: Pragmatic individualists

Generation X – also known as Generation Golf – refers to those born between 1956 and 1979. Their development was strongly influenced by the effects of the economic crisis as well as by a change in society due to a significantly increasing divorce rate. But also through the demarcation to the previous generation of baby boomers, who had mainly made work the centre of their lives. Generation X no longer sees working as an end in itself, but as a necessary means of achieving prosperity and – above all – personal freedom. In this respect, they are very well educated, ambitious and aspiring and are constantly looking for career opportunities. But above all in order to achieve their goal of the highest possible quality of life after work. The desire for advancement is reflected in a result-oriented individualism and a certain pragmatism – they prefer to work independently rather than in a team.

Generation Y: Team-oriented project workers

For Generation Y, the “millenials” born between 1980 and 1993, the search for meaning and self-realization in their working lives ranks significantly higher than for their predecessors. In return, they are also prepared to soften the boundaries between work and private life to a greater extent. For this first generation of digital natives, there is no longer work on the one hand, with which one makes one’s private life possible on the other, but both merge more strongly into one another and are supposed to be fulfilling in their own way. A give and take. The natural use of the Internet and growing up with the communication-oriented Web 2.0 have turned Generation Y into experienced networkers and team players – online and offline – as well as experienced multi-taskers. They are driven by the search for variety, which is reflected in a more pronounced tendency towards project work as well as involvement in private projects outside regular work.

Generation Y teamwork

Generation Z: Test-friendly networkers

Interestingly enough, with the beginning of the entry of those born between about 1994 and 2010, the boundaries between work and private life are becoming sharper again. Clearer distinctions are increasingly desired, the end of work should be the end of the day. Not least because Generation Z is once again looking for fulfilment in their private lives rather than at work. Above all in the maintenance of social contacts, which are constantly available in view of a digitization lived since early childhood. A demarcation between virtual and real contact maintenance hardly takes place any more. In private, but also in professional terms, the possibilities for this generation to shape their own lives are more diverse than ever before. However, this also entails a certain helplessness and decision-making difficulties. People like to try different things. These opportunities for development are a curse and a blessing for Generation Z, because they also lead to noticeable insecurity in the face of an uncertain future. Especially since they will probably not reach the prosperity of their parents’ generation.

Generation Z digital device

Thus, while some trends seem to continue linearly across different generations, in other respects – for example in the separation of work and private life – there is a reversal of earlier developments. In fact, each generation has its own set of requirements for business partners and employers. Understanding these is a big step in the search for the right approach towards your target group.

Generation Z Companies and MarketsTo find out which providers in the German market are dealing specifically with generations, please visit the free search platform Companies and Markets . 

By the way, there are not only common characteristics between individuals, but also between companies. Find companies with similar requirements in order to be able to tailor your approach as specifically as possible. At the touch of a button with Implisense Pro.