The majority of content marketing strategies can easily cross generational lines and work with virtually any audience. Ideas such as utilizing user-generated content, engaging with your audience on your social media channels and including a specific call to action at the end of your content are among some of the strategies that will work no matter the age or various other demographics of who you are trying to reach. There are, however, times when it is especially prudent to consider generational marketing as part of your content marketing strategy. While each person is undoubtably different, every generation has different needs and desires, and what works for one may not necessarily work for another.

In this blog post we discuss what generational marketing is, why it’s important, an overview of each generation and specific content marketing tactics that can be used to target each one.

What Is Generational Marketing?

Marketing Insider Group tells us that: “Generational marketing is the term coined for segmenting and targeting your markets by age rather than other demographics such as gender, location, or income. If you want to make sure your content marketing is effective for each generation you’re targeting, you must understand the motivations, challenges, and habits of each generation, and how you should tailor your content accordingly.”

While it’s important to remember that not everyone in a specific generation will have the same viewpoints, needs or wants, analyzing what each generation has experienced and what generally makes them tick is a good jumping off point for your content marketing. There will obviously need to be further segmentation of each generation by other demographics for your content to be truly effective, but understanding the fundamentals of each generation is key to starting off on the right foot.

Why Is Generational Marketing Important?

Each generation will have its own unique marketing challenges and opportunities based on their experiences growing up, the economic climates they’ve survived and the things they’ve come up against in their personal and professional lives. As such, it’s a content marketer’s job to consider the experiences of each generation in order to reach the largest audience possible. Additionally, different generations typically consume different types of content online and spend their time on different platforms. Because of this, it’s important to go where your audience is and adapt your strategy appropriately.

Content Marketing Strategies By Generation

There are currently four different generations who actively consume media and buy products and services. Each generation is different, with unique life experiences that have molded how they see the world, their buying preferences and their social media habits. Thus, each generation requires diverse content marketing strategies. The following is a general breakdown of each generation and specific content marketing strategies to use with each one.

Baby Boomers

Baby boomer content marketing strategy

Building brand loyalty is an excellent content marketing strategy for baby boomers.

The baby boomer generation was born in the years following WWII, from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s. One of the defining characteristics in terms of content marketing for this generation is that they spent the majority of their lives without the internet and sophisticated technology we use today. Their formative years were spent in a time of enormous change and economic growth. This undoubtedly led to baby boomers generally having a feeling of optimism; many of them feel that anything is achievable if you try hard enough.

While this generation typically has a large amount of spending power, baby boomers on the whole tend to be more frugal than other generations and attempt to seek out the best deals possible. They are loyal to their favorite brands, tend to watch more television than other generations and 64% of them are active on at least one social media site, with Facebook being the most commonly used.

Content Marketing Strategies For Baby Boomers

Wordstream shares helpful tips for marketing to the baby boomer generation. Among these tips are to:

  1. Take advantage of brand loyalty. As stated above, baby boomers tend to be very loyal to the brands they know and trust. If you prove that you have a quality product, baby boomers will come back to your brand time and time again.
  2. Go for the up-sell. Since the baby boomer generation has a large amount of spending power and prefers to seek out deals, it pays to simply ask if they’d like to pay extra for more value or service. This can also help to build better relationships with your customers.
  3. Tie in cash back. This goes back to the idea of brand loyalty and deals. The baby boomer generation tends to spend their money in the same places over and over again. Encourage incentives and cash-back rewards for their loyalty! One example of this is how credit cards provide cash back for a certain number of points earned.
  4. Use traditional marketing. Baby boomers do best with traditional marketing strategies. Television and newspaper ads are more likely to get them to purchase something than a Facebook ad (in fact they may report it as spam).

Additionally, Marketing Insider Group reminds us that those in this generation find value in in-depth pieces and analysis. Your language should be more formal when targeting baby boomers and you should strive to avoid slang, abbreviations and pop-culture references. A word of caution, however. While baby boomers did not grow up with technology, many members of this generation are quite tech-savvy. Take care not to be condescending.

Generation X

Gen X content marketing strategies

Helping Generation X find ways to save money is a useful content marketing strategy.

Generation X refers to the generation born from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. They are the last generation to live their childhood and early adulthood free from computers, cellphones and the internet. Because Generation X grew up during an economic recession, they have had to work harder on the whole than their parents to achieve financial success. As a result, they often have less disposable income than older generations and are more focused on saving money.

Members of this generation are tech-savvy and are generally comfortable using technology, even though they didn’t grow up with it. They can be suspicious of newer social media platforms, use the internet as a research tool and are often skeptical of marketing messages in general.

Content Marketing Strategies For Generation X

Just as with the baby boomer generation, Wordstream shares generational marketing strategies for marketing to Generation X:

  1. Offer coupons. Because of their experience with the Great Recession, Generation X is focused on saving (many don’t believe they can rely on Social Security for retirement). Offering coupons for your product or service is a great way to reach this community. Sharing these coupons through email is an excellent way to get them in front of this generation.
  2. Do good. This generation appreciates services or products that are beneficial to society as a whole or the environment. Organic, ethically produced products are in high demand for Generation X.
  3. Develop lifestyle nurture programs. To establish customer loyalty with Generation X, Facebook ads targeting anniversaries, birthdays, etc. offering updates or incentives month-to-month are useful. Anything to make their day-to-day existence easier is a great idea.
  4. Give Gen Xer’s a break. Two-thirds of Generation X plan on taking a vacation in the next 12 months. This is a great opportunity to market your product or service, even if you aren’t directly related to the vacation industry. Run sweepstakes or advertise how your product or service can help them while they are away.
  5. Try direct mail. Eighty-six percent of this generation brings in the mail every day and 68% have used coupons they receive in the mail. As stated before, coupons work well with this generation, so try sending some in the mail!

Generation X is bound to be more skeptical than both the generation that came before them and the generation that came after them. Because of this, it’s important to be consistent and authentic in all your content marketing strategies. By focusing on financial security, family, personal well-being and work-life balance, you will inevitably reach a large number of this age group.

Millennials

Millennial content marketing strategies

Generational marketing for millennials includes being ethical and community focused.

Millennials were born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s and are the first generation to grow up around technology. They are extremely comfortable with it and are used to the instant gratification that comes with the internet and everything it offers. As a whole they tend to be distrustful of marketing messages and value authenticity and honesty over flashy advertising.

Members of this generation prefer ethical and community-focused brands, are more likely to spend money on a company with brand values that align with their own and are highly active on many social media platforms. They prefer online shopping, value life satisfaction over financial security and in general are less careful with their money than older generations.

Content Marketing Strategies For Millennials

Specific marketing strategies for Millennials from Wordstream are as follows:

  1. Focus on innovation. Millennials tend to like the next big thing. Taking a marketing approach where you show a new perspective on a problem or task is an excellent way to reach this generation.
  2. Use reviews. As mentioned above, one of the things that informs millennials’ buying practices is reading reviews. They base a lot of their decisions on what other people have to say about your product or service. Make sure that you highlight your positive reviews and customer experiences and publicly address any negative experiences.
  3. Connect through social media incentives. Add incentives to your marketing plan. You can do this by asking millennials to “check-in” at your location for a percentage off or to share their experience with five friends. This is an excellent way to get more sales leads for your business.
  4. Utilize rewards or loyalty programs. Over half (70%) of millennials are willing to participate in rewards and loyalty programs. This is a huge number and brands who don’t tap into this kind of marketing are missing out on a large amount of business.
  5. Try radio commercials. While this may seem more like a traditional marketing tactic, 93% of millennials report listening to the radio (think podcasts) for around 11 hours per week.

More than anything, millennials value socially and environmentally responsible brands. Even if your marketing strategy is fantastic, if they don’t like your company’s values they aren’t likely to use your product or service.

Generation Z

Gen Z content marketing strategies

One content marketing strategy to try with Generation Z is utilizing user-generated content.

Generation Z (or zoomers) is the generation born in the late 1990s to the present and are the new generation of consumers. While the oldest of this generation is only around 24 years old, they already represent $140 billion of spending power. They hold brands to a high standard and are online almost constantly. Trust in a brand is very important to them, and this generation is one of the most diverse to date.

This generation is the only one who has grown up with smartphones and social media around them their entire lives.

Content Marketing Strategies For Generation Z

Traditional marketing simply doesn’t work for this generation. They don’t spend a lot of time watching television in real-time, preferring instead to stream the majority of their media. Because of this, commercials of any kind need to be shorter.

To reach this generation, brands need to have a deep understanding of the social media platforms they use. Any ads they choose to create should grab their attention quickly and seamlessly fit into their content.

The best form of marketing for this generation isn’t even created by the brand themselves, but instead by influencers. The relatability of influencers resonates with young consumers, and Gen Z is twice as likely to make a purchase based on a recommendation by one.

Rolling Stone also indicates several more content marketing strategies that tend to work best for Generation Z:

  1. Trust is important. Your company has to be about more than just profit. Gen Z wants to know what you stand for. Speak out on what’s important to you!
  2. Let Gen Z speak to Gen Z. When it comes to finding influencers to work with your brand, it’s best to actually find someone from Generation Z.
  3. Influencers matter. Investing in influencers is highly profitable. Take the time to find ones who are relevant to your brand.
  4. Communicate with precision. Since Gen Z is the most diverse generation in the U.S., a one-size-fits-all message will not work. Use data to determine what works for this population.

It’s important to remember that not every person in a generation will be the same as the other. In fact, you may have read this blog post and failed to see yourself in the description of your own personal generation. That’s ok and expected; the lines between generations often blur and your experience may not be the same as another. While generational marketing will help give you a broad overview of how to reach people of a certain age, it will not be enough to truly understand your target audience. You most certainly will need to further segment your audience by other demographics. It is, however, a great jumping off point for your content marketing strategy.

Do You Need Help With Your Generational Content Marketing Strategies?

Running a business is hard, stressful and requires much time and effort. Deciding how to market to your target audience, especially if you are marketing to different generations, can be extremely difficult and confusing. Let Three Girls Media help take some of the burden! Our team of content marketers is standing by to assist you in relevant and creative ways. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with our CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery, to discuss specific ways we can help your business succeed with every generation.

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