What is Generational Marketing?
In generational marketing, the audience is segmented on the basis of the generation they belong to. Each generation refers to a group of people born in the same period of time who share similar life stage and experiences and who are shaped up by that particular time period.
For generational marketing, you must modify and customize your online content as per the given generations.
Six Living Generations in the United States
You will find six living generations in the USA who are quite diverse from each other when it comes to interests, hobbies, mental approach and just about everything. Most marketers based their generational marketing strategy on at least four out of these six generations.
Exceptions are always there as a person’s age can’t always tell his preferences and attributes, but as a general rule, you will find each group to share many similarities.
According to research conducted by Fractyl, every generation has almost equal number of similarities and differences regarding the consumption habits and preferences for digital and online content.
Now, as a marketer, it is important to recognize the behavior of multiple generations and to modernize the marketing strategy if needed. It allows marketers to target audience on the basis of their similarities and dissimilarities. Understanding each generation and their preferences is extremely important for the success of generational marketing.
Let’s take a brief look at the generational cohorts in marketing:
Born between 1901 and 1926, this is the oldest living generation in the USA currently. This generation is generally conservative minded with little to no knowledge about digital media so not included in generational marketing.
This is the generation that was born between 1927 and 1945. Like GI generation, this one also shares a conservative mindset but at a comparatively lesser level. The people of this generation enjoy reading newspapers for staying up to date.
They are also not very important for generational marketing.
Baby boomers or the “me” generation people were born between 1946 and 1964. This is the generation that is slowly embracing the use of modern technology but still can’t let go of the voicemails. They are quite open to direct marketing tactics.
This is the smallest generation of them all and is often called as the bridge between Baby Boomers and Millennials. They have seen the TV taking over the radio. They are much more social media savvy than baby boomers. Reportedly more than 80% members of this group use Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.
Although they aren’t very accustomed to online marketing, they are happily showing their approval for this idea.
Born between 1981 and 1999, this marketing cohort is most talked about on social media and in popular culture. Millennials are gradually outnumbering the baby boomers at workplaces – known to be the biggest generation of entrepreneurs.
Millennials value satisfaction more than financial security. As per Brooklyn Institute, around 64% of Generation Y members prefer making $40,000 per year at their favorite job than making $100,000 at a job they think is not attractive.
Millennials are the current economic force of the society with their buying power of 200 Billion Dollars. This is the generation that is most receptive to online purchasing and often the key target of generational marketing.
As in words of Brian Clark, “These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.”
Therefore, they like taking informed decisions about any purchase. They seek recommendations from family and friends, read online reviews, check ratings and then make a decision.
Born from 2001 onwards, the members of Generation Z are still teenagers or younger. Growing numbers of marketers now target them through generational marketing. They will turn out to be the most diverse generation ever with higher levels of technological know-how.
Which Social Media is used by Different Generations?
What about generational marketing trends in social media? According to Pew, the below-mentioned stats came to front:
- The percentage of individuals aged between 18 and 29 that use social media is 86%.
- The percentage of individuals aged between 30 and 49 that use social media is 80%.
- The percentage of individuals aged between 50 and 64 that use social media is 64%.
- The percentage of individuals aged 65 and above that use social media is 34%.
The research further mentioned the percentage of different social media platforms used by different generations.
Facebook is the most used social media platform by all age groups. Almost 88% of 18-29-year-olds, 79% of 30-49-year-olds, 61% of 50-64-year-olds and 36% of 65-year-olds and above use Facebook.
Instagram turned out to be most popular among young people with percentages of 59% for 18-29-year-olds, 31% of30-49-year-olds, 13% of50-64-year-olds and only 5% of65-year-olds and above.
Twitter is moderately followed by all age groups with percentages of 36% for 18-29-year-olds, 22% of30-49-year-olds, 18% of50-64-year-olds and 6% of65-year-olds and above.
How much do Each Age Group Go Deep While Reading News?
For every generation, news consumption is a daily habit. However, older generations were found to be most attracted towards news with following stats:
- The percentage of 18-29-year-olds interested in the news is 59% with 1 in 4 of them likely to go in-depth.
- The percentage of 30-39-year-olds interested in the news is 75% with one-third of them likely to go in-depth.
- The percentage of 40-59-year-olds interested in the news is 77% with 43% of them likely to go in-depth.
- The percentage of 60+-year-olds interested in the news is 89% with 54% of them likely to go in-depth.
Which News does Each Generation Prefer Reading?
- Across all generations, traffic and weather news is the most preferred type of news with percentages of 71%, 93%, 81% and 95% for 18-29-year-olds, 30-39-year-olds, 40-59-year-olds, and 60+-year-olds.
- 18-29-year-olds are most interested in news related to the environment, business, crime, health, and social issues.
- 30-39-year-olds are most interested in news related to the environment, their local town, national politics, business, crime, foreign issues, and science and technology.
- 40-59-year-olds are most interested in news related to the environment, the local town, politics, business, health, and education.
- 60+-year-olds are most in the environment, the local town, national politics, economy, crime health, and education.
How much Time do they spend on Watching TV?
As per NYTimes, people aged 50 and above watch more than 50 hours of TV a week. People aged 25 to 34-year-olds watch 26.5 hours of TV per week and people aged 35-49 watch 36.5 hours of TV per week.
Content Consumption Habits of Different Age Groups
Baby boomers actively consume digital and online content which makes them easy to reach through content marketing. But here is the catch, even when content marketing is increasingly getting responsive and mobile based, baby boomers prefer desktops.
More than 80% of baby boomers favor desktop computers and laptops over smartphones.
Here are some more interesting facts about the digital habits of baby bombers. Almost 25% spend more than 20 hours per week going through online content. They also consume 94.7% more global news than millennials which makes news stories a key source to reach them.
Active at What Time of the Day? – Between 5 am and noon.
Generation X due to their thin numbers is not actively targeted by marketers but here are few habits to keep in mind when marketing to this age group. They enjoy online content related to entertainment and lifestyle and use both desktop and tablet but prefer desktop and laptops.
Active at What Time of the Day? – In the evening between 8 pm to midnight.
This is the largest group and living generation with over 75.4 million members and often the prime target of marketers.
Unlike the above two generations, this age group is more mobile phones friendly so your marketing strategy must be responsive. They also have a short attention span and prefer brief online content.
Active at What Time of the Day? – In the evening timings.
If you are targeting this age group, your marketing strategy must be based on mobile devices. They spent more time (15.4 hours) using smartphones a week – more than any other age group. With an ability to influence what their parents buy, growing number of marketers target this group.
The key medium to reach this age group is Video. Their most favorite website is YouTube and most favorite social media platform is Snapchat. Generation Z is expected to spend $200 Billion by the year 2018, so as a business, you can’t just ignore them anymore.
Content that is Equally Popular Among All Age Groups
When it comes to frequent content consumption, generations have a lot of similarities, despite their differences in other cases. Therefore, using the content preferred by all age groups will cover a larger audience.
Blog posts are the most popular content among all three age groups.
- All age groups prefer shorter and precise articles with approximately 300 words but recent trends show acceptance of longer in-depth content.
- Approximately 20% of Gen-Xers prefer reading content that has more than 500 words.
- More than 50% of the baby boomers prefer content with less than 300 words and the other half go even lower than that and prefer less than 200 words.
This does not necessarily mean that you always have to write exactly 300 words. Just make sure that your content is clear, concise and well written that resonates with the audience.
How to reach all the Generations through Digital Content Marketing?
As Ann Handley said, “Just as your content needs to target customers at every step of their journey with you, it also needs to appeal to their rational and emotional sides. Every customer needs to have their interest piqued, engagement provoked and confidence built.”
Therefore, generational marketing is all about connecting with your audience at a deeper level by going through means they are attached to.
What types of communication could be used for different generations?
Ways to Reach Baby Boomers
Here are some quick ways to target baby boomers through generational marketing.
- Facebook – A lot of the baby boomers are now using Facebook. Sponsored ads with relevant information targeting them are a good way of catching their eye.
- Content – They prefer and read high-quality blog articles, reviews, ebooks and comments. To target baby boomers, produce and publish high-quality text content as they are willing to read.
- Slow Videos – Videos that are slow in pace and contain detailed information are a good way to target this generation.
- Email – Baby boomers are avid users of email so running email content campaigns will be fruitful for you.
- Discount Coupons – Being brought up in the old and conservative times, baby boomers prefer saving money where they can get a chance. Therefore, you can market discount coupons for effectively reaching them.
Ways to Reach Gen-Xers
If you are targeting Generation X, following the listed tips can help you improve the results of your marketing campaign.
- Facebook – As an obvious fact, the number of active Facebook users among this generation is much higher than baby boomers. Facebook ads are going to get a lot of response.
- Digital Video – The percentage of Gen-Xers who download or watch online videos per month is 7%, so, it’s a good way to reach them
- Email – Highly preferred medium by Gen-X, do not miss the email marketing while targeting this generation.
- Twitter – Unlike baby boomers, Gen-X is familiar with Twitter as well. And not just familiar, there are around 5 million regular users of Twitter among this generation. Now, it’s up to you how you make the most of it.
- Blogs – Generating valuable content can give you a very high ROI when it’s about Generation X. Keep the content clear, easily comprehensible and to-the-point that mainly focuses on the customer’s benefits.
Ways to Reach Millennials
Millennials bring you the most business, and here is how you can maximize your marketing efforts for this age group.
- Social Media – It goes without saying that this generation is extremely tech savvy and when it comes to social media, you will find this generation to be an extremely active user of social media. That isn’t just limited to Facebook but all the contemporary social media sites and apps.
- Mobile & SMS Marketing – This generation is all about mobiles and smartphones that make mobile marketing an essential to reach Millennials.
According to Neil Patel, one of the top digital marketers in the world, “Mobile and portability are key” when targeting Millennials.
- Video Marketing – Video marketing is a revolutionary channel that is changing the ways of video marketing consumption. Real-time videos are a popular trend these days among millennials, which means you can use Snapchat and other such platforms for addressing this generation.
- UGC – UGC or User-generated content such as blogs, chats, tweets, digital images, audio, and others are a good way of grabbing millennials’ interest.
Ways to Reach Generation Z
This generation has just started spending online and also influences the buying decisions of their parents, which is why, you can no more ignore Generation Z when marketing your products.
- Social Media – This goes without saying. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and other related apps should be your major communication medium to reach this demographic.
- Short Videos – You can use very short videos like GIF format or with some fast music in the background to deliver your message to Generation Z.
- Quizzes – This generation is highly receptive to online quizzes and surveys. You can use this to your advantage for finding out their demands and needs and for reaching them.
- Memes – Being young, this generation loves watching and sharing memes that interest them. You can use them as a marketing tool to reach them.
- Imagery – This is the generation that has been brought up seeing DSLRs and fancy cameras all around, so they are naturally attracted to eye-catching imagery. You can use photographs as a medium to reach them through Instagram or other social media podiums.
Creating content for different generations, or generational marketing is no cakewalk considering their extremely diverse ideas and values. However, with the constantly growing channels and generations’ adaptability towards them, you can create the content that will help you create a deeper association with your audience.
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