A significant divide exists between pre-Internet and post-Internet generations, and while it doesn’t mean pre-Internet buyers aren’t consuming digital content, it does mean they have distinct preferences for the type of content they like to consume. Incorporating this knowledge into your content marketing strategy is critical as buyers are aging and a new generation of digitally savvy, research-first IT decision-makers quickly become your customers. In fact, 73% of Millennials are involved in B2B product or service decisions with their companies.1
Content Preferences by Generation
According to HubSpot research, younger generations including Millennials, Gen Y and Gen Z want short-form, visual, and video content. This generation also wants less email, looks to social media for information, and is drawn to personalized experiences based on the information they have made publicly available on the web. If your buyers are in these generations, you need to build a strong social media presence and promote content with images and video for maximum impact. You also want to consider text and chatbots to engage this audience with quick, short messages that let them interact in a question and answer format. Additionally, if you’re already focused on decision-makers in the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations, you want to take steps to adapt your content strategy to this new generation of buyers as they age: in 2020, the oldest Millennials will turn 40 years-old.
For older generations, content preferences focus more on research reports and news stories, and these buyers will invest time to read long-form content. While their interest in social media and visual content is lower than younger generations, they do like and want more video content. So if your buyers are over 40 years-old, include longer articles and papers, storytelling, and third-party research into your content marketing mix. You also need to increase your video library assets if you’re not already producing consistent video content. And unlike younger generations, this group isn’t opposed to receiving your email.
In addition to the universal appeal of video, podcasts are another well-liked content option. In 2018, the number of podcast listeners in the United States reached 75 million, and the number of monthly listeners is predicted to hit 164 million in the year 2024, with the compound annual growth rate between 2019 and 2023 pegged at 17 percent.
Building Content for Multiple Generations
Most technology companies are selling across generations and targeting decision-makers, influencers, and users that span a broad age range. Adopting a strategy to create more content for different buyer preferences seems daunting, but you can make it more manageable by starting with a one-to-many approach — essentially one topic that’s delivered many ways for your audiences, channels, and different types of learners. Depending on the volume of content you’re looking to create, you can do one topic per month and generate a sizable amount of supporting content.