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Don't retire the baby boomers just yet ?>
Don't retire the baby boomers just yet

Baby Boomers: Still a Boon for your Business

Information on marketing to Millennials can be found virtually anywhere these days, but what about Baby Boomers? Once a prime focus of marketers’ advertising strategies, Boomers are now being overshadowed by the newer, younger, and more technologically-savvy generations like Millennials and Gen Zers. In fact, according to Nielsen, less than five percent of advertising budgets are put toward Baby Boomers nowadays. Yes, this audience may be older, but they’re also massive in size and have significant spending power, which means you shouldn’t count the Boomers out of your media plans just yet. Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation (comprised of Americans ages 50 and older) account for nearly a quarter of the total U.S. population, with 76.4 million currently existing in the United States. That’s a lot of Boomers – and potential benefit for your brand.

But that’s not the only reason why you should put Baby Boomers at the top of your media plans. They’re also:

  • Affluent
  • Have substantial buying power
  • Spend a good portion of their time online

In fact, digital marketing firm, Immersion Active, reports that Boomers have an annual disposable income of $2.4 trillion (or 70 percent of the nation’s disposable income) and account for $230 billion in sales of consumer packaged goods like coffee, diet soda and magazines (Nielsen). Additionally, Baby Boomers are becoming increasingly tech and internet savvy. Surprisingly, younger Boomers (ages 47 to 55) spent an average of 39.3 hours online per month in 2010, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Older Boomers (ages 56 to 65) averaged only slightly less, at 36.5 hours. More significantly, over one-third of all tablet owners in the U.S. are over the age of 45, while 66 percent regularly purchase from online retailers. For marketers, this means the Baby Boomer market is very lucrative – increasing sales or gaining share with the right set of tactics.

That being said, marketing to this older and more brand loyal generation can be tricky. Getting to know and understand what drives their attitudes and behavior is the first step toward efficiently reaching and targeting them. Here is some insight to help get you started:

BOOMERS USE SOCIAL MEDIA, BUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY

Despite stereotypes, Baby Boomers aren’t living in the Stone Age when it comes to social media. Yes, the average age of a user may be young, but a large percentage of social media profiles belong to people over the age of 55 – 27 million active users to be exact! (Immersion Active). In fact, Boomers are among the fastest growing groups on social media. Younger generations prefer Instagram or Snapchat to post photos of their nights out and weekend trips, whereas Boomers are more likely to use Facebook to engage with family and friends. Other common activities Boomers partake in on social sites include following groups/organizations (55 percent), posting/watching videos (40 percent), supporting causes (26 percent), and joining groups (23 percent). Diving even deeper into the numbers, Boomers strongly prefer Facebook over Twitter: 49 percent of online Boomers have a Facebook account, while only 18 percent use Twitter. As older Boomers become less active and moveable, social media is the ideal way for them to keep in touch with family and friends. This means that developing the right social marketing strategy is crucial if you want to reach Boomers during the moments that matter to them.

OFFER REAL, RELEVANT, AND RELATABLE CONTENT

Here’s the bad news: Baby Boomers don’t trust marketers. And as this generation continues to age, their skepticism toward advertising grows. A recent study conducted by Insights in Marketing revealed that Boomer men (26 percent) and women (21 percent) are the least likely of any generation to believe what advertisers and marketers say about their products and services. But their skepticism is warranted. This generation grew up during the nascency of television, watching advertising grow from its inception to where it is today. In fact, Boomers have spent pretty much their entire lives inundated with advertisements, so they’re used to seeing marketers use tactics without strong content plans to back them up. Many Boomers have bought products in the past that didn’t live up to their own expectations or the marketing hype in terms of messaging as well as in quality. To gain Boomers’ trust, marketers must focus on offering them information that will resonate based on significance and candor, which means ads should reflect relevant, real-life situations so that consumers can relate. Communicating with Boomer consumers in a simple manner, with compelling, clear and concise content is also crucial. This will help marketers attract and retain loyal Boomers today and in the years to come.

SLOT SEARCH INTO YOUR MEDIA PLANS

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a Baby Boomer’s best friend. In fact, a study conducted by the DMN3 Institute, a digital and direct marketing agency, found that the top online activity of Boomers was utilizing search engines (96 percent). Likewise, the top online destination for Boomers is Google Search. When respondents in the DMN3 study were asked about actions taken as a result of performing online activities, search drastically outperformed social media and viewing online videos in getting Boomers to take action, including making a purchase. The top referral result of search engine use? Boomers looked for additional information online 82.4 percent of the time, with visits to a company website coming in at a close second (77.5 percent). More significantly, over half of Boomers who use social networking sites will visit a company website or continue their search on a search engine as a result of seeing something on social media. This just goes to show how interconnected and vital search and social are in successfully reaching the Baby Boomer audience.

No matter which marketing tactic you choose, providing content that meets Boomers’ needs for information in a thought-provoking, strategic, and timely manner is critical. Because the fact of the matter is, you’re not going to get the eyeballs, action, call, or purchase if your audience isn’t interested in you or what you have to offer. To learn even more about Baby Boomers, check out the infographic below.

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