One of the biggest factors that determines a business’ success is their ability to market to a wide range of demographics. In an increasingly digital world, marketing to separate generations are completely different ball games.
Currently, a lot of businesses are having trouble reaching and attracting Millennials. Millennials are the generation born between 1981 and 2000 and make up about 80 million consumers in the United States alone. The Millennials are often referred to as digital natives, meaning they have grown up with technology such as computers and the internet. The dawn of the digital age has forced companies to throw out the playbook and start from scratch in terms of marketing.
The hot selling points that worked for Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) and Baby Boomers, (born between 1946 and 1964) are proving to be more of a turn-off to the younger audience. As millennials have started to enter the professional world and accumulate wealth, companies are taking different approaches to attracted changing demographics.
Today, the Baby Boomers still have the lead when it comes to disposable income and they account for nearly half of all retail sales. Although traditional media such as radio and television are still highly effective in marketing to this demographic, Baby Boomers are up-to-date with new technology. They routinely browse the web and are comfortable researching brands and products while online shopping.
Baby Boomers are also in tune with using social media. In the United States, more than 70% are active on Facebook. However, Baby Boomers absorb information through these sites in different ways. Facebook for Baby Boomers is king. Instagram is quite the opposite with only 7% of the demographic are active users. About 45% prefer to view content from a desktop computer while only 14% view from a mobile device.
Generally, Baby Boomers like informational content that shows the big picture. For example, the genres this generation typically seeks out are world news and politics. In terms of marketing to this generation, Baby Boomers prefer knowing more about the companies they are dealing with. For example, when researching a business or product, Baby Boomers are more likely to read the “about” page on a site than their Millennial counterpart. It is important that brands keep their page updated and informative to successfully market to this demographic.
Even though traditional media platforms are still effective when marketing to Baby Boomers, it is important to use newer platforms brought forth by the digital age. With the majority of Baby Boomers consuming content in the late morning hours, the key is use the right channels to create the right content that speaks their language to appeal to them. In other words, Baby Boomers prefer more text based, informative content as opposed to visual. Therefore, an in-depth piece on a brand or product would be more effective than memes or slide shares.
Millennials on the other hand, use similar digital platforms to absorb content but they consume it in drastically different way. Traditional platforms such as radio, newspaper, and television are becoming less and less prevalent in marketing to millennials. Young adults today are social and mobile. Millennials typically spend around 25 hours per week online and most of the time spent consuming content is in the late evening. They are more active on social media than any other generation with 52% preferring to view content on their mobile device.
Perhaps the most prominent characteristic that sets Millennials apart from other generations is they like to be engaged in the content they consume. They are deeply interested in listening, being heard, and sharing of opinions and perspectives. As digital natives, being immersed in the internet, personalization, online sharing, and self-expression on a large scale are the norm.
In order to effectively market to this demographic, content channels must be engaging and socially conscious. Millennials are typically drawn to visual content and short blog articles around 300 words. When consuming online material, they like to be involved in the process and feel a personalized connection to the product or organization. The most popular content genres amongst this generation are entertainment and technology.
The rules and methods of marketing have changed a lot with Millennials. They are very socially conscious which requires evolutionary tactics to reach them on an effective level. One of the best ways to reach this demographic is by using interactive, image based content as opposed to dense, text-based material. It is important to know that Millennials are powerfully connected and will share, comment, and evangelize content to add to an evolving marketing landscape.
Baby Boomers and Millennials are similar in the sense of platforms they use to consume content. However, the defining factor of the generational gap is in the channels they use within the platforms and how they absorb material. While Baby Boomers prefer to devote time to consuming more informative content, Millennials are constantly on the go and prefer consuming in small, visual doses. At the end of the day, knowing how each generational demographic consumes content is crucial for companies to effectively get their message out on the market.
Mr. Rick Sliter is the President and CEO BioClarity. Previously Mr. Sliter served as the Chief Brand Management Officer at Provide Commerce, as well as Senior Vice President of Marketing Services at Provide Commerce, Inc. Mr. Sliter holds an MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA, where he was awarded the Patrick J. Welsh Fellowship, and a BA in Quantitative Economics and Decision Studies, with distinction, from UCSD.