The way to a Boomer’s wallet is through their mailbox – just not the one at the end of their driveway.
As a demographic that pre-dates the Internet, Baby Boomers have historically been targeted through direct mail, television and radio advertising. But are marketers ignoring this segment as a viable target for online marketing efforts?
Many marketers view GenX and GenY as the two groups most responsive to online marketing Understandably so, since these two demographics have spent a majority of their lifetime online.
But as a group that’s rising rapidly in prominence and importance to marketers, Baby Boomers can’t be overlooked when assessing online marketing strategies. Boomers are increasingly joining the ranks of Internet traffic and this group is ready and willing to read email and spend.
Boomers are traditionally defined as Americans born in the post-WW2 baby-boom between 1946 and 1964. They make up the single largest demographic of consumers in America. And despite the first wave of boomers hitting 65 and retiring, they are no strangers to the online world. According to The Nielsen Co., over 32% of the over-50 generation is actively engaged online and interacting with brands and marketing at a level that far exceeds every other generational cohort.
The data is clear: Boomers are an incredibly important segment to crack in order to make your online marketing a success. And if sheer numbers aren’t enough to convince you, consider this: Boomers represent the largest generational concentration of wealth; are highly likely to make purchases online; are incredibly responsive to email; and at the same time are much less drawn to coupons and discounts than any other generation.
The answers range from surprisingly simple to incredibly complex.
We’ll start with the simple answer: Boomers are highly susceptible to a good value proposition and love to be told about products that fit their needs. More than any other generation, they care about a product matching their lifestyle, rather than providing a good deal.
In that regard, marketers need to focus on developing a strong set of values to bring the product into line with Boomers’ ideals.
The more complicated answer is that boomers are just as media-savvy – maybe even more so – as younger generations.
This is the generation that saw advertising reinvented over and over again. They’re used to constantly shifting media, and have seen enough to be skeptical of advertising. Boomers are very attentive to things they see as “genuine” and “real” and quickly dismissive of things that are seen as fake or too contrived.
The side product of this media saturation is an increased reliance on social signals. In a study released by Carol Orsborn, Ph.D. and Stephen Riley, the CEO of Vibrant Nation, they find that among upscale/affluent women over 50, nearly 90% rely on “referrals from other people” to make purchasing decisions.
Adding the opportunity for social sharing is integral, as is providing a platform for testimonials. Focus on building your social efforts and engaging your current client base. More than with any other demographic, this is where social can really pay off.
There are a few points to keep in mind when marketing to the Baby Boomer generation:
As much attention as the Millenials get with their tech and media savvy, the Boomer generation has seen far more rapid changes in marketing technology over their lifetime. From paper ads and direct mail to radio, TV, and the Internet, this generation is incredibly familiar with advertising tricks and ploys.
The goal to unlocking the Boomer generation is to leave the clever pricing schemes and other tactics many marketers have used over the last decade or two at the door, and approach them based entirely on marketing fundamentals. Keep this in mind, and you’re well on your way to a successful campaign.