5 Essential Tips for Marketing to Baby Boomers

Marketing professionals must understand baby boomers well to effectively market products and services to this highly influential generation.

By Navid Jafari  |   30 Dec, 2020  | 0
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Marketing to Baby Boomers is important because they comprise around 1/5th of the American population and hold a substantial amount of this country’s wealth. Advertisers and marketing professionals need to understand the generation as a whole and how to market to baby boomers effectively.

To market a product or service to the Baby Boomer generation, be sure to effectively utilize social media and mobile platforms, increase accessibility and usability by providing phone numbers and straightforward design, and use precise language and tone.

Persona-driven marketing is an essential strategy marketers can’t do without. This persona is no different. Marketing to this generation requires a well-thought-out approach to maximize reach and impact.

Let’s learn more about who the Baby Boomers are, why you should market to them, and discuss some best practices and approaches.

Defining the Baby Boomer Generation

The term “Baby Boomer” describes people born immediately after World War II, from around 1946 to 1964. Today, Baby Boomers are between the ages of 56 and 74.

That said, people born in the Baby Boomer generation have either retired or are getting ready to retire soon. Funding retirement may be a challenge for some members of the generation, but generally, this generation is wealthy and economically influential.

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Why Marketing to Baby Boomers?

Baby Boomers make up about 21% of the American population [Statista]. However, about 53% of the country’s wealth is held by Baby Boomers – compared to just 5% heald by Millenials [CNBC].

This indicates that even though there aren’t as many Baby Boomers when considering the total American population, this group is economically powerful and has access to most of the country’s buying power.

Therefore, it is necessary for companies to market to members of this generation deliberately, effectively, and regularly. Even though members of younger generations collectively make up a higher percentage of the American population, they do not hold nearly as much money available to spend on non-essential products and services.

Simply put, by capturing the Baby Boomer generation, companies can ensure their economic success.

Tips For Marketing to Baby Boomers: How to market to baby boomers

I hope I’ve now established how important it is to market to Baby Boomers – even if a product or service wasn’t initially intended for them. Just because a product or service is intended for a younger generation, it doesn’t mean that Baby Boomers wouldn’t be interested in purchasing it for family members as a gift.

Use of Social Media

It would be a mistake to assume that the members of the older generations are technologically illiterate. On the contrary, Baby Boomers, just like other generations, use the internet, smartphones, computers, social media for work, or personal purposes.

Even though this generation didn’t grow up with these technologies or even have them available as young adults, they have learned to use them well.

There is something to be said about not all social media platforms being equally relevant or important to this generation, but the main platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are great platforms to reach this target audience.

In fact, the platform that is most used by Baby Boomers is Facebook [statista]. It would make sense to focus primarily on Facebook to reach this audience. It’s about finding the most influence in marketing, wherever you can.

When it comes to the messaging in social media ads, however, marketers do need to keep a couple of things in mind when trying to woo this generation:

  • Do not use contemporary slang that this generation may not be familiar with or like
  • Don’t necessarily oversimply content just because it is online
  • Build and use messaging that’s relatable to them (e.g., “we know how hard you’ve worked to build a life…”)

Do NOT Use language Like “Old” or “Elderly” – ever!

Age is relative – much like how a 6-year-old might think a 15-year-old is “old.” But, it is important to state the obvious here and highlight that being called “old” is never pleasant.

Younger marketers may not realize just how judgemental or negative these terms can sound. If rule number one in marketing is the Golden Rule, then rule number two must be “thou shalt not offend your target audience!”

I would go so far as to say that Baby Boomers are probably fairly sensitive to this. These terms and notions imply weakness or irrelevance and should absolutely be avoided in all contexts. Getting cute with certain phrases like “ok, boomer” can be offensive. Don’t confuse humor with insults.

The Baby Boomer generation is already likely to feel slightly alienated or behind when it comes to the internet, smartphones, social media, and other “young” technologies because they didn’t have such luxuries when they were younger.

Smart marketers would find ways to reassure this generation that their perceived lack of “expertise” with new tech isn’t indicative of their abilities or importance.

Increase Accessibility and usability for effective marketing to Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers may prefer in-person contact or talking on the phone rather than email or chat much like how a Millennial might prefer the exact opposite. As a late Generation-Xer, I find myself preferring face-to-face meetings for important things, and email and phone for less important things. We are all different and products of our experiences.

If as a marketer you’ve built a fantastic website that only allows for chat communication, you’ve got some work to do! Increasing accessibility is about giving your prospects opportunities to interact with you however and wherever they feel comfortable.

With that said, let’s talk about design, layouts, and website usability.

Anyone in their mid-40’s and beyond would tell you that their aging eyes prefer larger text sizes. Don’t build an online presence with small, hard-to-read fonts. Sure, it might look cool and unique, but that isn’t for us marketers to say! Everything we do is for our target audience.

Build simple layouts with adequate text size and clear interface design to make sure anyone can access your information without getting confused or lost.

Use Humor, But The Right Kind

Humor is advertising works. Advertisers are much more likely to get their point across if they can make their target audience laugh and be remembered. Don’t be afraid to use humor in your marketing materials towards Baby Boomers, but be mindful of the right kind of humor.

If rule number one in marketing is the Golden Rule, then rule number two must be “thou shalt not offend your target audience!”

I love this example: ETrade (2018 Super Bowl commercial) is clearly aiming for the older generation in this ad but uses humor and relevant language (“don’t get mad, get ETRADE, kiddo”) to convey why they should pay attention.

Be mindful that while Boomers use social media and technology, they may not necessarily be familiar with certain recent trends, language, or vernacular. Keep your humor simple, fun, and clean!

Don’t Use (a lot of) Slang

Along the same lines, try not to use slang in your marketing materials intended for Baby Boomers. Slang terms change and evolve (very) quickly, so it is best not to use any contemporary slang that would alienate your audience.

Instead, it is best to stick with clear terminology and messaging to convey your message effectively.

At the end of the day, remember that Baby Boomers are an important target audience for your product or service, so don’t underestimate, ignore, or worse offend them. Keep these tips in mind, and you will be able to effectively market your products and services to this economically influential generation.


Affiliate link disclosure: NeatCue receives compensation at no additional cost to you, if you use referral link(s) on this page to make a purchase.


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