Aftershock Weekly | Episode 20 | Boom Goes the Marketing: Marketing to Baby Boomers

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Well hello, and welcome to Episode 20 of Aftershock Weekly. This week, we finish up our series on marketing to the generations with Boomers. How do you market to Boomers?

Well, first off, who are the Baby Boomers? They are born between 1946 and ’64. The joke was, after World War II and everybody came home, the men said, “Let’s have kids.” And that’s what happened. And the entire generation was created, and it was the biggest generation that we’ve ever seen. It’s a gigantic bubble. So, that’s the Baby Boomers. There’s nearly 75 million of them—about 50% of the US population is currently over the age of 50. The craziest thing is they’re under-targeted. That only 5-10% of marketing and advertising is geared to them, yet they represent 70% of the US disposable income. So, what that means is there’s lots of opportunity if you can identify with this crowd and resonate with them, that it’s a very profitable group of people to advertise to, yet you’re not having the same kind of competition for Generation X and the Millennials.

One of the things that they as a generation hold onto is that they’re always improving. They’re always trying to do something better. They’re trying to improve their status. They’re trying to learn more. They’re all about things—to them, you know, the big house, the Mercedes Benz was very much that generation, whereas Generation X wasn’t the same, wasn’t that materialistic. And I don’t mean materialistic in a bad way, but that’s how they measured things. That’s one thing about Baby Boomers is they are very material-driven.

So, here’s a couple of the “don’ts” with Baby Boomers. First off, don’t overlook them. It’s very important that they know you’re talking to them and that you understand what their needs are.

Don’t cut out too much of the content. When you are trying to advertise, obviously, you want to be precise with your message, but you don’t want to be so short to where they don’t get all the information. The important thing about this generation is that they want to hear the story—they want to hear the full story so that they can make an educated decision. Don’t shorten your message too much to where they feel like you’re cutting out important info.

Don’t disregard the relationship. They want to know that you care about them, and it’s not only going to be business and a transaction one time, but it’s ongoing. So, if you’re buying a car, a Baby Boomer’s buying a car, chances are they’ve bought a car from the same place eight, ten years ago, and they bought another car previous to that, if they’re in the same city, from the same place. They’re very loyal like that.

Don’t patronize them. They want to know that you’re being sincere in your message. So, if you are trying to sell technology, for example, don’t just say that, “Oh, Boomers don’t know technology.” Explain the technology. Explain the features and benefits to them. Don’t just assume that they don’t know how to do it.

Don’t use bad words. Right? Especially if they’re over 50 years old, or even older, they don’t resonate with this. This is not the Gary Vee’s that can throw the F-bomb out and advertise to Millennials all day long, because they sit there and they eat that up. You do that with Boomers, you’re going to turn them off. The message needs to be very respectful.

Don’t rely on mobile. Yes, when I was talking about Generation X and Millennials, I said the screen is where you want to be. But now, it’s more the tablet and the laptop, the desktop. They still spend a lot of time there. In fact, their buying decisions on mobile are very different. What they’re looking for is to get on and off very quickly—they’re not looking to do research there. They’re looking for a phone number, or for a location, but they’re not going to sit there and research all the products. So, when you’re marketing to the Baby Boomers, you want to make sure that your content is expansive and easy to digest on desktop and on tablet.

Lastly, don’t break your marketing promises. If you say, “Buy one, get one free,” then make sure it’s buy one get one free. If it’s 25% off, give them 25% off. Don’t give them any shenanigans. The bait and switch doesn’t work with any generation, but especially this one with the type of buying power, you can very easily drive a lot of bad reviews about your business and get a lot of bad press if you try to bait and switch this generation.

Now, here’s what you should do. Focus on the user. One: try to customize your ad to this particular audience. Make sure that you understand that they do like things, that they respect quality, that they are okay with paying a little higher price, and they are all about spending their money—whereas the generation before them, because of the Great Depression, they didn’t spend any money. They didn’t have any money, so they saved everything. The Boomers were the opposite. They said, “YOLO!” But not back then, of course. Then it was probably, “Seize the day!” or, “Carpe diem.” Whatever. Anyway, they like to spend money.

Use direct mail. Now, I would not tell you to do this with Generation X, I wouldn’t tell you to do it with Millennials—Generation X still looks at it, but the Boomers are where Direct Mail can really be a benefit. Baby Boomers open their mail, they look forward to it, and they’re more likely than any other generation to take action on a post card, a mailer in an envelope, any of those types of things. They’re the demographic for your Money Mailer and your ValPak.

Slow down your video content, and use text and captions. Everybody wants to know what the message is. Right now, I’m talking way too fast. If this was a Boomer there watching me, they’re really glad that we have captions right here so they can understand what I’m saying and it’s not just, “Blah, blah, blah.” So, use captions, use text to engage the audience.

So, they value accurate content over creative delivery. Meaning that they want to know all the bells and whistles, they want to know features and benefits, they don’t necessarily need all the pizzazz of the delivery, it doesn’t need to be in a beautiful, shiny package. They just need to know how it’s going to work for them, how it’s going to impact their lives. So, focus on features and benefits rather than some schnazzy video for this demographic.

Focus on relationships. Remember, I said this demographic is the generation that will purchase a car from the same exact car dealership if they’re around and they’ve had a good experience, for twenty, thirty years. That’s just who they are. They’re very loyal, they stick to their brands, they’re the staple of why Coca-Cola and Pepsi are still dominant today, because the Boomers are still using that product, and their kids used the product but they’re a lot more finicky—Generation X, Millennials, they’ll dive in, they’ll try a new experience. Baby Boomers want to know what’s worked and what they enjoy, and they’ll stick to it.

Invest in SEO. Because the Boomers are very much a research generation, they want to have access at their fingertips to a lot of different information about your business. So, if you focus on SEO and coming up organically, they’re the ones that are going to spend the time on your blog, reading about the features and benefits that will help make their decision. And you want to come up as high as possible.

Lastly, skew your images to the younger of the Boomers, the late 40s and the 50s rather than the 60s and 70s. The reason is, even when you’re 60 and 70, you want to identify with people that are younger than you, but not so young that they’re kids. And when you’re 40 and 50, you certainly don’t want to see what you’re going to be like in the 60s and 70s, so you want to identify with that generation. So you’ll see a lot of the marketing is typically I’d say right at 50 years old to about 55 is where you see a lot of the Boomer-catered commercials, advertisements—50-55 is the age that you typically see in those ads.

With that, I hope this helps you market to the Baby Boomers. So thanks for tuning in to Episode 20, and with that, we’ll leave you with a quote.