Generational Marketing: How to Reach Boomers
by Victoria Hoshal
It’s no surprise that Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), are the most important demographic within the U.S. consumer base. They are the largest generation in American history. d.trio researched a range of industry resources to define the most relevant and timely advice for those marketing to Boomers. Here’s our re-cap.
Boomers and older consumers (born before 1965) are the single, largest consumer group in America at over 100 million. They are the wealthiest, best educated and most sophisticated purchasers. With more disposable income than any population in America, they are, the “New Customer Majority” (David Wolfe).
Boomers represent over 29% of the U.S. population. They hold 70% of U.S. wealth and control over 50% of the U.S. discretionary spending powers. Boomer women wield significant buying power; making or influencing 80% of household purchase decisions. Boomers are:
- Health care influencers – purchasing over 61% of all over the counter medications and 77% of all prescription drugs
- Travelers – 80% of leisure travel are boomers
- Health conscious or dealing with health issues – 39% of Boomers are clinically obese; over 80% of Boomers research their health issues online.
Some channel observations for marketing to Boomers:
- They are still influenced by television advertising
- Print media is still alive – they are traditional print readers
- They also like reading online and respond well to electronic books and publications
- Boomer women are more open to change than GenX or GenY
- Their online behavior is consistent – over 91% use email, 88% use search engines and 74% receive news online.
Boomers are early adopters of technology, and in fact, created the technology we enjoy today. Think Steve Jobs/Apple, Bill Gates/Microsoft, Larry Ellison/Oracle…you get the picture. Boomers have spent most of their working lives using technology – they are tech savvy. Statistics show that Boomers will quickly adopt technology that meets their needs, and this adoption rate is increasing every year. For example:
- Boomer women appear to own iPads or tablets at four times the rate of the general public;
- Boomers spend more money each month on technology than Gen X or Gen Y – an average of $650 per month
- Boomers spend 15 hours online per week, compared to teenager’s 13 hours per week
- 45% of Boomers downloaded more than 10 apps in the last year
- 33% read QR codes on their smart phones
- 35% download movies from Netflix or other streaming providers
- 46% buy music by downloading it from a site like iTunes.
Because Boomers are early adopters of technology, we conclude that they are somewhat channel agnostic. The message is more important than the medium. If marketers develop the right messages, they can engage Boomers, regardless of channel.
Life transitions are often at their peak for Boomers. According to an article by Nancy Shanka Padberg, marketers can build their brand by understanding this change and offering understanding and product solutions:
- We make your life better.
- We make your life easier
- We understand you.
From health and wellness to luxury travel or wealth transfer, opportunities abound for marketing to Boomers. However, success will be driven by authenticity, individual connection and relevance.
Numerous blogs from Media Post (mediapost.com) informed this article:
Life Transitions Create New Opportunities for Marketers, Oct. 17, 2011
Who’s Buying All Those IPads? Boomers Become Earlier Tech Adopters Every Year, Dec. 12, 2011
Social Media – It’s Not About Technology, Dec. 5, 2011
A Boomer State of Mind, Nov. 21, 2011
Other sources include Experian Marketing Services and www.boomersweb.net