Varying Online Content by Generation

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Generational Marketing: Varying Online Content by Generation

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When providing online content, sales and marketing professionals must appeal to customers in four generational groups. These groups include Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980), Generation Y, or Millennials (born between 1981 and 1999), and Generation Z (born from 2000 on).


Because no single universal marketing strategy works for all generations, sales and marketing campaigns must be designed to attract consumers of different generations. Running such a campaign is called generational marketing. Campaign designers segment the audience and customize marketing content to suit specific generations.

According to a recent study in Market Demographics, Baby Boomers, sometimes called the “me” generation, consume the most online content, typically on their laptop or desktop computers (Chastfield, 2021). More Millennials use their mobile devices as their primary source of content than any other generational group.

The generations all like blog articles, images, comments, and ebooks. Millennials have the strongest preference for videos and social content (Risser, 2020). Generation X and Baby Boomers turn to news articles and reports based on research, though members of Generation X enjoy social media far more than Baby Boomers do. Another similarity is that the generations also dislike the same type of online content, namely flipbooks, shared slides, and whitepapers.

Across the generations, preferences for onlne advertising is much different from preferences for online content. Most customers still prefer television and print ads, especially if the TV spots are short and not played too frequently (Vance, 2020). The least favorite types of ads are those in podcasts, online pop-up ads, and mobile phone ads, all because they disrupt the consumer’s ongoing experience.

Other than the similarities noted here, Millennials deviate the most significantly from the other generations. (Generation Z might be too young to demonstrate their consumer tendencies.) Because Millennials are at the peak of the consumption, with about $200 million in buying power, sales and marketing campaigns are generally focused on them (Schawbel).

To attract more business from Millennials, marketing professionals should focus their efforts on social media and apps. Though consumers in general do not like mobile phone ads, Millennials notice and respond to them. Video marketing, especially through real-time videos, is a popular trend among Millennials. In fact, Millennials prefer video content to all other types of content, especially if it is timely and engaging (An, 2020).

The most successful sales and marketing efforts balance traditional written content with video and social-based content. Each generation responds best to a different mix. Catering to Millennials means increasing video content, while targeting Baby Boomers involves using ebooks and articles.


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