Over the past 10-15 years, technology (and more specifically digital communication) has fundamentally changed how we communicate with our target audiences. We have gone from mass marketing to extremely targeted marketing in the digital space. The depth of knowledge we now have about our customers or members is at a level we could only have dreamed about over a decade ago. Through the use of digital tools such as Google Analytics, Google Trends, Social Media Insights and others, we can build a profile of each of our customer groups at a very granular level.
We can understand our customer’s needs, values, triggers and challenges, and adapt our communication strategy to allow us to really engage with each and every customer in a way that they feel heard, valued and understood. Building customer personas is the cornerstone of effective digital communication. To help in building your customer personas, we have developed a number of bespoke templates and videos below.
Characteristics of the Different Generations
Closely aligned with ‘persona understanding’ is ‘generation understanding’, particular when it comes to communication preferences and digital usage. Below, we have provided an overview of the characteristics, communication preferences and digital usage of each of the main generations.
- Prefer Face to Face communication above all else
- Embrace technology for productivity purposes such as email
- A large percentage of Baby Boomers are not on any Social Media Platform, but those that are, use Facebook
- Prefer using desktop to mobile
- Wary of buying online and concerned with security breaches
- Have good buying power
- Resourceful, independent, and keen to maintain a work-life balance
- Equally as engaged with digital and traditional marketing
- Spend 20 hours a week on social media
- Favourite platforms are Facebook and Google (many also may be on Instagram)
- Avid multi-taskers
- 68% make buying decisions based on online reviews
- Tech Savvy
- Video is highly effective for Gen X – especially ‘how to’s’ and tutorials
- Very technologically proficient
- Like to present a carefully curated image of themselves on social media
- Consume multiple styles of multimedia content, from videos to podcasts
- Short form & video content is preferred (Attention span of 12 seconds)
- Watch online videos for 2.5 hours per day
- Twitter, Instagram, & YouTube are preferred social channels (Many younger Millennials are also on TikTok)
- Likely to have multiple social media accounts
- Trust their peers and online influencers
- Are suspicious of brands and traditional advertising
- 82% make purchases based on User-Generated Content
- Respond to a variety of promotional strategies including online ads, social media marketing, and brand podcasts
- 74% buy products online more than once a month
- Drawn to sustainable products and brands
- Prefer authenticity over a polished looking feed
- Value personalised products
- Access the internet on their phone
- 98% own a smartphone
- More than half spend 10 hours every day on their phone
- Preference is for video based platforms – Instagram, YouTube & TikTok
- Snapchat is used extensively for messaging
- Engage with quick or short-form video content (eg: Instagram Reels)
- Attention span of eight seconds
Understanding how to Communicate to Different Generations
Understanding the different nuances and preferences of each generation is only useful if this knowledge translates directly into your communication plan. The key is to understand how you need to adapt your strategy to suit each generation (or the generations that fall into your target market). Some top-line insights are highlighted below:
1. Prefer face to face communication.
2. Are suspicious of online transactions.
3. Feel left behind when it comes to technology.
To communicate effectively to Baby Boomers, traditional marketing tools such as local radio, newspaper and outdoor work particularly well. The majority of Baby Boomers still read national and local newspapers.
1. Values transparency & honesty.
2. Engage equally with Traditional and Digital Communication.
3. Most are on Facebook, but are beginning to use Instagram more and more.
4. Google is their preferred Search Engine.
Testimonials and peer based campaigns work every effectively for Gen X. Some traditional communication, particularly on radio, can be effective.
Frequent & short video communication on Facebook and Instagram is highly effective (stories, newsfeed, reels). SEO for relevant key words is critical.
1. Distrusts brands but trusts peers and influencers.
2. Engages very little with any forms of traditional media other than local radio.
3. Their favourite social media platform is Instagram. However a large number are still on Facebook.
4. YouTube is their favourite search engine.
Testimonial and peer based content is huge for Millennials – this can take the form of reviews, front facing videos or simple testimonials. Undertaking a number of campaigns to create User Generated Content from this generation would be extremely worthwhile.
Tools such as Stories, Reels and video should be used – static posts can still be effective but are less so. Featuring on YouTube is very important for this generation.
1. Wants to only interact digitally.
2. Are bombarded with content daily.
3. Prefer ‘authentic’ content.
4. Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube are their preferred social media platforms.
5. Highly influenced by peer recommendations and micro-influencers.
All communication to this generation should be digital. Communication at any time is acceptable and valued (including instant messaging or texts out of hours).
The format and style of communication needs to differ from the other 3 generations. Video content should be somewhat informal, extremely short and peer-driven if at all possible. Micro-influencers are huge for this generation.
Tying in with the latest trends on TikTok will set you apart from competitors.
Understanding what drives each generation, what they value and what they expect from you, gives your business a real edge over the competition. Furthermore, by honing in on their values and preferences, you are creating engaged and highly loyal customers.
Let us Know if we can Help!
Our Managing Director, Sheila, has been working with our clients on their brand and digital strategies for over 18 years. Sheila is a firm advocate of really understanding the context and landscape in which you operate before putting any communication plans in place.
To discuss how Sheila and the wider team at Márla Communications can help your business, please give us a call on 051-853650 or email Sheila directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.