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The WHY and HOW of Marketing to Baby Boomers

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Dec 06, 2016 @ 01:34 PM |


Today’s marketers seem infatuated, perhaps even a little obsessed with Millennials. And, when you read studies, like the one done by Accenture that reports Millennials spend roughly $600 billion annually, you understand why companies like Coca Cola and Uber make marketing to this demographic their primary focus.

However, in their mad dash to woo one demographic, marketers frequently ignore another: Baby boomers. And this is a mistake – a big one.

In fact, according to Baby Boomer Magazine, roughly 40% of all consumers are baby boomers. That’s nearly half of the people spending money to buy stuff that gets completely ignored! Marketers that ignore this segment of the population are leaving a lot of money on the table.

WHY Target Baby Boomers?WHY Target Baby Boomers?

If you imagine a baby boomer as someone who only drinks Sanka while watching Matlock reruns, you’re not imaging right. Baby boomers, the 60 and up crowd, are hipper and savvier than older generations who came before. But why target them?

First, baby boomers watch television and read the newspaper more frequently than any other group of consumers, and are also becoming increasingly internet savvy, so it is incredibly easy to reach them with your message.

But the real reason to target this group is that they have disposable income. In fact, baby boomers as a group are quite affluent. According to a Nielsen report, this demographic makes up 70% of the nation’s disposable income. On top of this, baby boomers are expected to inherit $13 trillion (that’s with a “T”) in the next 20 years. The bottom line is they have money to spend. They know they have earned the right to invest in themselves and their passions and hobbies and are ready to pay top dollar on travel, recreation and other leisure activities.

HOW to Market to Baby Boomers

Now that you know WHY you should focus your marketing efforts on this demographic, let’s talk about some important points to remember when creating your campaigns.

Baby Boomers Use Social Media ... But DifferentlyBaby Boomers Use Social Media … But Differently

It is a misconception that baby boomers aren’t involved in social media – they most certainly are. But you will find them using certain channels more than others. While a 23-year-old may use Snapchat or Instagram to post photos or videos of their wild night out, baby boomers tend to stick to Facebook and Youtube to post images and videos of their new grandbaby or the lake cottage they just purchased.

So, when developing your campaign, don’t leave out social media but do research to understand exactly which channels your audience uses.

Baby Boomers Grew Up Reading Text

While Millennials may break a sweat if asked to read more than 140 characters, baby boomers grew up reading full ad copy. Reading is a hobby many boomers enjoy, so don’t make the mistake of using shorthand text and acronyms like “GPS” or “24/7/365” – they simply won’t be welcomed by this group.

When developing your ads, keep it old school and lean toward a more text-heavy message. Boomers tend to like to see everything spelled out in print and they don’t like messages that are cute and clever. So, spend more time on creating straightforward messages that list all of your benefits.

Nurture Your Relationship

Boomers are more responsive to traditional marketing channels but that doesn’t mean they’re easier to market to. Quite the opposite. They don’t make decisions lightly. Being retired with no kids to raise, they have time on their hands to mull things over. Remember this if you’ve been focusing your efforts thus far on millennials who are all about “now” and “on-demand” and “instant.”

Boomers also need to build trust with a brand before they will buy.

What does this mean for your campaigns? It means you need to commit to a longer sales journey and continue to nurture the relationship the entire way. Sure, these sales might take longer, but they will lead to brand loyalty.

If you’ve been ignoring boomers, now is the time to give them some love. After all, doesn’t it make sense to focus on people who actually have disposable income and are easily reached through print advertising? Yes, yes it does. So switch gears this new year and develop some campaigns geared toward the over-60 gang.

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