Investigating Generational Differences in e-WOM Behaviours: For Advertising Purposes, Does X = Y?

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Marketers have generally assumed actionable differences exist between Gen X and Gen Y, particularly with regard to electronically mediated marketing. Using a mixed-method approach, this study investigates whether generational differences exist in electronic word-of-mouth (e-VVOM) behaviours. Through focus group research, attitudes and behaviours toward e-WOM were elicited from members of both generations. From these sessions, propositions were developed and tested. The findings suggest that, although there are structural differences in the media used to spread e-WOM - with Gen Y more heavily engaged with social networking media and Gen X more reliant on email - the two generations' motivations and behaviours are strikingly similar. Few differences were found in technology skills or attitudes toward technology. Implications for marketing theory are discussed. Practical implications for managers seeking to generate e-viral 'buzz' are also offered.