Are there some similarities in marketing to different generations?
What does this say about you and your age?
Do you consume your content in the early morning? Or later in the evening?
Millennials and Boomers consume content at different times of the day. Are you targeting the right audience with the right content?
We’re in the midst of a generational shift, with Millennials expected to surpass Baby Boomers in late 2015 as the largest living generation.
According to insights by Nielsen marketing, in less than five years, 50 percent of the U.S. population will be over the age of 50. They’ll not only control 70 percent of the nation’s disposable income, but they also stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years. And as Boomers become increasingly social media-savvy, they’ll be able to put their money towards whatever’s trending. As a result, they may become the key to the success for many brands.
Each generation has unique values, expectations, backgrounds, and lifestyles that influence how they browse and consume content on the Web.
Successful strategists recognize these differences and offer their audience compelling content tailored to these specifics through different tactics. However, what if your target audience spans several generations? Is it possible to make content that is well-received and shared by multiple age groups?
Millennial Vs. Boomers: Habits and Characteristics
Millennials – They’re in no hurry
Coming of age during a recession (and the sluggish recovery that followed), millennials face a tough job market and greater economic pressure than their boomer parents. So they take longer “finding themselves” in their 20s and reach traditional milestones of adulthood—marriage, parenthood, home ownership, etc.—far later than previous generations. Almost 70 percent of millennials have never been married.
They want more than $$
More than 60 percent of millennials say they’d rather earn $40,000 per year at a job they love than $100,000 at one they hate. And what they crave most is the flexibility to work when, where and how they want in order to balance work-life demands. Many are even willing to take a pay cut or skip a promotion to get it.
They’re falling behind
Despite being the generation with the most schooling in U.S. history, millennials rank below their global peers in math, literacy and a key 21st-century skill: “problem-solving in technology-rich environments.”
Boomers – They love working
Nearly two-thirds of boomers ages 50 to 61 expect to delay retirement. Among the most popular reasons cited for sticking with the daily grind: They want to.
They’re forever young
Expected to live longer than any previous generation, new research suggests that old age may now actually begin at 74. That’s good news for boomers, bad news for employers who still offer a pension, with the average retiree now estimated to draw a pension for 24 years (50 percent longer than the prior generation).
Nearly as many boomers own smartphones as younger generations, and they’re far more likely to have home computers. A whopping 85 percent are (LOL) into text messaging, sending an average of 80 messages a month. Boomers are also five times likelier than other generations to own a digital tablet.
BEST TIMES TO POST CONTENT
- Millennials (born between 1977 and 1995)
- Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1976)
- Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964).
They compared their responses to uncover similarities in digital consumption preferences along with any unique trends among all three generations.
Here, I’ll break down three key takeaways you can use to elevate your future campaigns.
Baby Boomers consume most of their content between early morning and noon.
Millennials and Gen Xers consume the most during the late evening.
- Baby Boomers peak between 9 a.m. and noon with more than 20 percent of respondents online at this time – nearly 30 percent more than Gen Xers and Millennials.
- The least popular time for most respondents to engage online is late at night – between midnight and 5 a.m.; this period earned fewer than 10 percent from each generation.
- During Millennials’ and Gen Xers’ peak hours – between 8 p.m. and midnight – 80 percent more of these generations are online compared to Baby Boomers.
Surprisingly, there are not a lot of differences between Generation X and Millennials when they consume content.
MILLENNIALS & BOOMERS
When it comes to which device each generation uses to consume content, computers are still king.
More than 25 percent of Millennials are consuming content through their mobile phones
The preferred portable device for Baby Boomers is a tablet.
The most popular device for each generation is a laptop – at least 35 percent of each generation shares this preference – followed by desktops.
Further analysis revealed:
- More than 50 percent of respondents who primarily use mobile devices for content are Millennials.
- Baby Boomers use laptops the most – 43 percent – 20 percent more than Millennials.
- More than 115 percent more Millennials are using their mobile devices compared to Baby Boomers.
Although they can’t strongly agree on which device to use, every generation unites unanimously on at least four content types: blog articles, images, comments, and e-books.
- Preferred content types span across all three generations, but specific genres differ significantly.
Although all generations can’t strongly agree on which device to use, every generation unites unanimously on at least four content types: blog articles, images, comments, and e-books.
Additional findings indicated:
- Blog Articles
- Blog Articles
- Case Studies
- Blog Articles
- Audio Books
- Flip books
- White papers – were the same across generations too although not in that exact order.
Reviews closed out the top five for Baby Boomers, whereas this content type didn’t even make the top 10 for Millennials.
- Lists, infographics, podcasts, and guides all landed somewhere in the middle for each generation in terms of preference.
- Although sites such as BuzzFeed and PlayBuzz seem to be popular with younger generations, Gen Xers and Millennials listed quizzes as one of their five least favorite content types.
Regarding verticals or “genres”: Although every generation is engaged the most in the entertainment vertical, each generation had its own unique preference for others:
- Baby Boomers lead in world news and politics at 18 and 12 percent respectively – its biggest win coming from the politics vertical, with 120 percent more Baby Boomers reading about politics than Millennials.
- Gen Xers held its strongest lead in healthy living at 13 percent while also nabbing the top spot in the personal finance and parents verticals.
- Millennials held a strong lead in technology at 19 percent – 71 percent more than Baby Boomers.
The least popular vertical for Millennials was style, whereas Gen Xers and Baby Boomers equally engaged the least in both the environment and style verticals.
It’s essential for digital strategists to understand what different audiences connect with and align their content accordingly. Multi-generational marketing is more than just appealing to the unique needs of individuals within one specific generation; it’s about appreciating the similarities and differences among each group and improving your content accordingly.
“The times, they are a ’changin’,” as famous Boomer crooner Bob Dylan put it. The fast pace of the digital world can be unsettling for anyone who hasn’t grown up with a Facebook profile, which is why it’s become increasingly important for brands to stick to their guarantees and help Boomers figure out new products, step-by-step.
All of this means that you need to be relevant, engaging and building community as you share your products and services. Otherwise, millennials will ignore you as just part of the inevitable noise of a connected world.
Review this deck for additional insights, including the preferred video length and weekend consuming habits of each generation. Although there is no one-size-fits-all campaign, successful marketers can create content that multiple generations will want to share.
How do you market your product or service to boomer & millennials? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!
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Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.
Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.
Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.
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