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Why Your Content Marketing Should Take Generational Preferences Into Account | HubSpot Research

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Posted by John Beveridge on Nov 9, 2017 10:09:50 AM

Do you take generational preferences into account when you create marketing content?

Sales and marketing software provider HubSpot recently conducted research into generational content preferences and came to some interesting conclusions.The findings should help you set a road map for your content marketing.

Many professional services and technology companies pay scant attention to what millennials want, but they do so at their own risk. Consider the following:

  • Millennials (18-34-year-olds) are beginning to advance into management positions and are playing a greater role in the buying process.

  • Buying processes are becoming more complex, with more people/roles involved in the decision-making process. It's no longer enough to target the C-suite. As risk management becomes a factor in the buying process, economic buyers look for buy-in from users of the services being purchased. Many of these user buyers are millennials.

  • Executives look to staff to conduct research and come up with a short-list of possibilities before they get involved in the process. Many of those conducting pre-purchase research are millennials.

Hopefully, you understand how important it is to take generational preferences into account in your content marketing. Here are some of the key findings of the HubSpot research.

Younger buyers live on mobile

While mobile usage is prevalent in all age groups, it is overwhelmingly preferred by the 18-34 demographic. It goes without saying that all of your content should be mobile-friendly. Visual content (videos, infographics, and images) are much more effective on mobile than text-heavy content.

On the other hand, buyers over 45 overwhelmingly prefer to consume content on desktops and laptops. Consider presenting content in multiple formats to appeal to all those who play a role in the buying process.

Facebook is playing a larger role in content marketing

Many B2B businesses have come to the conclusion that Facebook is not an effective channel for their content marketing. After all, people use Facebook to keep up with their favorite entertainers and watch dog videos. The 2 charts below show why that conclusion may not be correct.

Note that 48% of survey respondents go to Facebook to catch up on lifestyle, news and business stories. By contrast, 52% used search engine queries to stay current. Many businesses (including Rapidan Inbound!) are re-visiting their Facebook strategies for the upcoming year.

This trend is particularly pronounced with younger buyers -55% of the 18-34 demographic go to Facebook to stay up to date on topics important to them.

Another interesting finding is that email newsletters are of scant interest to the younger generation - only 20% read email newsletters. Email isn't that much more popular with the older generation. 33% of those over 45 read email newsletters.

Is it time to start shifting marketing resources away from email newsletters towards Facebook marketing?

Video is a key element of a modern content marketing channel

We've cited the importance of video in content marketing many times on this blog. The HubSpot research supports that conclusion (see the 2 charts below).

Consider the fact that 62% of respondents consume video content thoroughly, while only 27% consume blog articles thoroughly! There are two takeaways from this part of the research that I find important. 

  • If you want to communicate an important idea or concept, use video.
  • Structure your blog articles so that they are "skimmable" and readers can find those parts of the post that appeal to them for a deeper dive.

Another key finding was that 53% of respondents wanted more video in the future while only 14% wanted more blog articles.

Diversify your content marketing approach

The bottom line is that most businesses need to diversify their content marketing approach to touch all the people that play a role in the purchase of their products and services. While video is incredibly important, a modern professional website is essential to get and keep profitable customers.

The content marketing landscape has changed drastically in the last three years. It takes an evolving strategy to successfully compete for the attention of your target markets and buyers. There are three takeaways that are important for professional services and technology companies to consider as they build their business development plans.

  1. A multi-channel content marketing approach is necessary to reach all that play a role in the buying process for your solution.
  2. Video marketing is no longer an option; it is a must-have in your content marketing.
  3. You probably need to re-evaluate how Facebook fits into your content marketing plans.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Business Development Strategy

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