In this study, we asked young adults and older adults to encode pairs of words. For each item, they were told which strategy to use, interactive imagery or rote repetition. Data revealed poorer-strategy effects in both young adults and older adults: Participants obtained better performance when executing better strategies (i.e., interactive-imagery strategy to encode pairs of concrete words; rote-repetition strategy on pairs of abstract words) than with poorer strategies (i.e., interactive-imagery strategy on pairs of abstract words; rote-repetition strategy on pairs of concrete words). Crucially, we showed that sequential modulations of poorer-strategy effects (i.e., poorer-strategy effects being larger when previous items were encoded with better relative to poorer strategies), previously demonstrated in arithmetic, generalise to memory strategies. We also found reduced sequential modulations of poorer-strategy effects in older adults relative to young adults. Finally, sequential modulations of poorer-strategy effects correlated with measures of cognitive control processes, suggesting that these processes underlie efficient trial-to-trial modulations during strategy execution. Differences in correlations with cognitive control processes were also found between older adults and young adults. These findings have important implications regarding mechanisms underlying memory strategy execution and age differences in memory performance.