Generational Marketing: Strategies and Tactics for Engaging Different Generations

Summary by Mary Jennings.

We are now experiencing five generations in the workplace. The focus is understanding what makes them tick. We need to look at their characteristics, although there will always be outliers and we need to understand the behaviors as we approach management decisions, policy development and implementation and collaboration within these colleagues.

Silent Generation – They have worked hard all of their lives. The silent generation is cautious with effects of the depression. Many silent generation attorneys are still working a day or two a week and the practice of law remains in their gut.

Baby Boomers – Our baby boomers are individualistic and living for today. They have moved up the ladder over the years and they are entitled to their positions. In a law firm environment origination is the key and they are not sharing. Baby boomers understand the lock step compensation system and “eat what you kill” mentality. Leadership has a challenge in developing succession plans which can affect the overall growth of the firm.

Generation X – Latchkey generation. They are independent, self-reliant and accept and tolerate risk. While Generation X’s are entrepreneurial, they are not necessarily focused on partnership track. They are ambitious and see the advantages of taking risks.

Millennials – Millennials need collaboration and focus on a team approach. They want accessibility to mentors, partners and the resources to do their jobs. They are technology centric. They are interested in group marketing; they prefer client teams when working on cases and the technology to be connected 24/7. Although they want connectivity, they want work/life balance as well.

Swipe Generation – Who Knows!!

It is important to understand preferences in the day-to-day management and leadership of our talent.

Communication, communication, communication!   The Boomers want face-to-face and more gets done stopping by an attorney’s office or discussing a matter over lunch. Generation X wants direct communication, whether that is email or text. Millennials are all about texting, which alerts to security issues. Are you thinking about how to save those text messages in your document management systems?

Law firms must think about recognitions as they manage the different generations. Baby boomers need public recognition; submit them for awards; Generation X prefers the one-on-one personal recognition and thank you while Millennials desire validation and approval they are doing a good job. Money motivates the Boomers; efficiencies and providing time for work/life balance motivates our Generation X; and Millennials want that inclusion and advancement for challenging positions.

In evaluating management skills, Boomers are strong in managing in challenging times; they are strong leaders and decision makers. Generation X leads change management; they score high in motivation; they understand the need to develop talent for the future; and are strategic in planning for the future. Millennials will be our future leaders and look toward diversity, inclusion, creativity and collaboration in managing and leading.

As you lead your law firms, capitalize on the strengths that each generation brings, understand the generational breakdowns as you plan and implement, and provide opportunities and training for Gen X and Millennials in leadership, supervision, business development and most importantly meeting the needs of a new generation of clients.

Presentation by Jonathan Fitzgarrald & Heather Morse.

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