Millennials and Baby Boomers represent two critical demographics for marketers to target, but they often demand very different.

A report from WD Partners illustrates the divergent demands of Baby Boomers and Millennials, generations that account for more than half of the current American audience. According to the study, Millennials demand an element of social status in the products and services they purchase. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers focus mostly on convenience with their spending.

For some brands, appealing to one of these demographics suffices. However, failing to attract either is problematic given their spending powers. WD Partners pointed to Millennials, specifically, as a critical demographic as many still haven’t reached their maximum spending power.

There are key points to touch on for each audience, though, that can drive a greater brand presence. The study found health, wellness and a strong sense of community appeal to most American adults, regardless of generation. A content marketing strategy highlighting the benefits of certain products and services for both the consumer and people around them increases their desire to buy from a company.

Appealing to any audience requires an understanding of their motivations for buying. While WD Partners outlines some key considerations for targeting these demographics, Millennials and Baby Boomers’ web activities and brand interactions can provide business-specific insights to direct campaigns. The critical component is listening when prospects start talking. Social media marketing is one of the best avenues for soliciting valuable data from consumers. In fact, social networks offer companies the chance to poll their fans and followers directly. Recently, Brafton reported Twitter expects to roll out a Surveys tool for marketers in 2013.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.