Peace, Love, and Rock n Roll: Marketing to Boomers



This is the second part of our series Multi-Generational Marketing, where we teach you how to digitally target individuals in the Millennial, X, and Baby Boomer generations. You can view part one here.

You know the image of a Baby Boomer that’s so often in the media: a 70 year-old man, sitting in a La-Z-Boy recliner, scrutinizing the remote control he can barely figure out how to work.

Of course, that’s not true for the majority of this extremely large, extremely diverse generation. A Baby Boomer is anyone born between the years of 1946 and 1964; a lot happened during those 18 years, and the experiences, values, and hobbies of its individuals represent that.

Here at Zen Media, we recognize that people are people first and customers second. Still, the Internet allows specialized, differentiated marketing for CMOs on shoestring budgets. A sensitive, smart marketer will realize there are a few ways to apply the general traits of this generation to better reach Boomer consumers.

They’re not old, they’re experienced.

If there’s one thing that Boomers universally hate, it’s being considered old— in a society that largely ignores or coddles its seniors, they have an intense desire to remain young, relevant, and useful. Any reference to their age or limitations will be an instant turn-off. Instead, your marketing efforts should use language that alludes to the advantages of being established, the opportunities of retirement and beyond, and the authority that comes with seniority.

In the same vein, if you’re trying to attract Baby Boomers, you cannot be ashamed of them. They want to be seen in a society that seems to prefer its seniors remain quiet and largely invisible and will be loyal to any company that is inclusive. You should definitely include people their age in your marketing materials. Your graphic artist and web development team need to keep the Boomer audience in mind during every step of the design process: large, clear fonts and image-heavy designs are vital to creating images and websites that won’t alienate seniors.

One company that really succeeds at digitally marketing to Baby Boomers is AARP.  Its AARP Possibilities page uses legible fonts, attractive celebrities, and positive, buoyant language about life after 60. Consider this a model for attracting and keeping an advanced audience.

Technophobe? Nice try.

Although pop culture would have you think otherwise, most Boomers LOVE technology. They witnessed the explosion of tech during their early years in the workforce and how it made their lives easier. They may be slower to adopt new technology, but they’re not afraid of it. In fact, Baby Boomers consume and share the most content online out of all the generations: more than one-quarter of them interact with content 20+ hours a week.

And while most think that that Facebook is for the young, it’s also the Baby Boomer’s social media platform of choice. They engage and share videos and images more than other age groups, so when creating an online marketing strategy, be sure to include a plan for image-heavy posts.

Baby Boomers also like Google+ more than any other segment of the population, but still only barely: eight percent of Baby Boomers say that Google+ is their primary content sharing platform.

What’s different, though, is when and how Boomers access this content. Unlike their night owl children and grandchildren, Baby Boomers are early birds; to maximize the number of them who see your content, aim to share between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon. And flashy apps? Don’t waste your time. While apps are popular with Millennials, fewer than half of Boomers use a smartphone to check email or go online. Instead, concentrate your efforts on a particularly well-executed email marketing campaign, which does especially well with older Boomers.

Reputation is gold.

Baby Boomers have led the workforce for years and are motivated by title, position and prestige. Because of this, they rely on labels and brand names when shopping. If your product is similar to a big name but better for a budget, emphasize that in your marketing efforts to win a Boomer consumer.

They gather information through trusted relationships and referrals, so a great way to get their attention is by creating a digital referral program incentivized with discounts. This will make your existing clients more invested in your success and bring new business.

Mission statements ring especially true to this audience—particularly those that stress the importance of community, loyalty, and hard work. Placing it in multiple places in your website will go far to establish your credibility in a Boomer’s eye. However, this audience is also cynical about hypocrisy and false promises, so you must do everything in your power to live up to your word.

While knowing general characteristics of your audience can help forecast their purchasing behaviors, it isn’t a perfect science. The more you can learn about your clients—whether from email click-through rates or shares on Facebook—the better you can modify your marketing strategy to fit their needs. If you need help targeting your digital marketing to your audience, contact the experts at Zen Media today.


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