The generational gap in using the Internet has gone far and wide - from children below ten to our grandparents and seniors. An online content about the newest Rihanna video or David Letterman's final show: will that interest Baby Boomers or earn a "like" by Gen-Xers or maybe a retweet from millennials? How will marketers ever know if the content they are publishing attracts their target audience or surprisingly working better for another generation? Is your digital marketing strategy closing the generational content gap?
A research by BuzzStream and Fractl revealed that Baby Boomers (born 1946 - 1964) consume more content than any other generation with 20 or more hours each week. Surprised? So it is very possible that while you keep creating content for Gen-X (1965 - 1980) and Millennials (1981 - 1997) because they are generations that grew up consuming all types of media and technology, the older boomers are actually the ones giving your content a look (not necessarily a seal of approval). The golden rule in any type of marketing is to know your audience if you were to give them what they need and want. In content marketing, it's never one size fits all. Marketers must know what content to publish at a particular time and in which platform to appeal to different generations with different values, expectations, and frames of reference.
Choice Of Content
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Is the ideal market for your content reading emails and website blogs or fans of social media? Do they like funny memes, uplifting blogs, short videos, etc? When you craft your digital marketing strategies, you have to identify essentially what type of content appeals to your target generation. Propelrr, a digital marketing company in the Philippines, suggests creating a persona of your audience so you know exactly who they are and what they are into. Go beyond the bio-data type of market research so you won't be wasting time and resources creating content that they don't care about.
Baby Boomers are increasingly becoming more tech and social media savvy. They also care about what's trending especially in politics and world news in general. This is the first thing you have to know when creating content for Boomers --- don't call them "old." Ann Fishman, founder of Generational Targeted Marketing said "Boomers feel entitled to live the good life." This is the "Me generation" that is after self-fulfillment. Remember this when targeting the Boomers: create content that will make them feel like they earned or deserved the product or service you are offering. References to tradition and values will also help.
Gen-Xers are mostly parents, career professionals, and also looking forward to retiring. A recent study from Shullman Pulse showed that personal and family health top their concerns. They cared about the Obamacare the most (29%), comfortable retirement (33%), and gasoline prices (39%). Economic recession and education of their children also made their list of priorities. When creating content for Gen-Xers, tweak it in some way that it touches family, health, or a more comfortable living.
Millennials are "digital natives" and are experiencing their lives more online than any other generation. Because digital marketing has generally evolved in front of them, they are a little bit more selective. One study showed that 48% do not trust sponsored content. That doesn't mean that they can't be won over, though. A Yahoo! Study showed that 51% are likely to share a branded content for as long as it is relevant. They go for good advertising but detest deceptive advertising.
If the millennials are the ideal market for your content, make sure that you are authentic and as much as possible positive. Find a way to outline your content in such a way that it is relevant and current and deserving to appear in their news feed.
Timing Is Everything
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In content marketing, if you fail to come up with something at a time when it is most relevant, then you fail big time. In closing the generational content gap, marketers have to understand how generations consume content with regard to their habits, activities, and lifestyle. You have to know when your target generation is awake, busy, or likely browsing the web. Sometime after dinner up to midnight are peak hours for marketers. How about the rest of the day?
Baby Boomers are essentially morning persons. Since they appreciate the news, give them some of it. You may package it as "conversation starters" to make them more bite-size stories.
Most Gen-Xers are working and run errands throughout the day. They still prepare breakfast and catch the train in the morning and also pick up the kids from school or do the grocery after office hours. They may squeeze in some web browsing during work hours but most of it happens before they hit the sack.
Millennials touch their smartphones 43 times a day according to a research by SDL. This means they are online during the most part of the day. Although they are most active in the evening, it is also advised that marketers feed them content during the day.
Let's Talk About Shopping
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Come 2017, millennials are estimated to spend more than $200 billion annually and $10 trillion in their lifetimes. So does that mean to focus all energy to millennials?
You know who likes luxury? The Boomers. One study revealed that adults 50 and up account for $7-Billion of amount spent on online retail. Boomers also shop often and their favorite is luxury travel spending, accounting for 80% of bookings online. In customizing your content fit for this generation, do not be afraid to go over the top and wow them. Boomers worked hard all their lives and they wouldn't mind spending extra for comfort and luxury. If you are a clothing company for example, tweak your content to travel must-haves or how to dress to impress in a certain part of the world.
Gen-Xers do not shop as often but they spend more when they do. A Forrester research found that Gen-Xers spend 40% more than Millennials and Boomers combined.
Millennials are a tricky bunch. They are the biggest workforce to watch out for, future managers, and buyers. However, do they really shop that much? A study by The Intelligence Group published on Forbes showed that a majority young consumers research about their options online before purchase. However, take note that nearly 50% say they regularly browse for items they don't plan on buying and 36% say they will only buy things they feel are necessary. Aside from the necessary, the items should have a semblance of exclusivity. With the wide range of options, why would they settle for a dress that looks like everybody else's? The takeaway: if you are selling to millennials, go for essentials and make them so unique they can't resist it.
Is Everyone Mobile?
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Not yet. Mobile phones are popular across all generations but as marketers, it is a must to make sure content is compatible in multi-devices to reach all age groups.
According to a Pew Research, 64% of Boomers own a desktop computer at home. Tablet computers like the iPad are also popular with this generation.
Sixty-nine percent of Gen-Xers own a desktop computer. Laptops, smartphones and game consoles are something they share with millennials.
Millennials are multi-screen users. They are the most mobile of all generations. To them, the desktop computer is a thing of the past. A comScore report found that one in five millennials access the internet via a smartphone. Tablet and laptop computers come next.
The Internet transcends generations. However, while the Internet is a common ground, differences still manifest in habits, values, experiences, and lifestyle. Boomers, Gen-X, and Millennials lived in different times with different preferences. Taking all these in consideration is the only way you can conquer the generational content gap.