The type of products and services you offer should dictate which generations you market to.
For example, if you sell extreme sports products, your target audience is going to be millennials. However, if you sell something related to retirement or an offering that would appeal to older adults, you’ll definitely want to include baby boomers in your marketing plan.
There are over 76 million people who fall into this generation. It is a unique generation filled with people who want to get the most they can out of every day and some of whom refuse to retire quietly.
Understanding what baby boomers want can help you form a successful marketing strategy.
Who Are Baby Boomers?
Baby boomers include anyone who was born between 1946 and 1964. This audience age range includes people around 56 to 74 years old in 2020. They were given the name baby boomers because of the increase in births after World War II during a great economic boom.
They lived through the rise of TV, various political protests, the civil rights movement in the U.S., the women's liberation movement, and the ever-popular Woodstock. These events, no doubt, shaped and influenced who they are.
Some boomer characteristics include the following:
- Strong work ethic
- Team oriented
- Mentally focused
Most of the baby boomer generation didn't grow up with technology like later generations, which means they may have a different approach to purchasing products.
However, you may be surprised by some of their character traits, including the following:
- They are more financially stable with more disposable income than other generations.
- They are less influenced by peers.
- They purchase more things online than millennials.
- About half of baby boomers watch videos online.
- Facebook is their favorite social media platform.
Essentially, baby boomers are a great generation that still has a lot of relevance in today's marketplace. This is where the concept of generational marketing comes into play.
What Is Generational Marketing?
Generational marketing is a marketing approach that segments specific generations. In generational marketing, a company tends to adapt their marketing messages to fit the needs of their target generation.
The marketing tactics a company uses are dependent on the common traits and behaviors of the generation.
Some of the living generations today include:
- Silents: Born 1927 - 1945
- Baby Boomers: Born 1946 - 1964
- Generation X: Born 1965 - 1981
- Millennials: Born 1982 - 1996
- Generation Z: Born 1997 - Present
Baby boomers are particularly unique because they have the highest value as consumers on the market today! To take advantage of this, you must know how to market to them in a way that is valuable to them and to your business.
How to Market to Baby Boomers: 10 of the Best Strategies and Examples
Here are 10 tips to help drive marketing geared toward baby boomers:
1. Avoid Slang and Abbreviations.
Even though baby boomers are a lot more hip than some might think, it is best to stay away from slang or abbreviations that might be confusing to this crowd.
They are used to texting with their grandchildren, but those texts contain proper grammar, and abbreviations often have to be explained. In your marketing efforts, make sure you are spelling things out and being clear. Abbreviations can lead to confusion for any generation.
2. Make Sure Sites Are Mobile Responsive.
Just because older people sometimes struggle with technology doesn’t mean they don’t own the latest gadgets. A little over half of people between the ages of 60 and 69 own a smartphone.
That number jumps for those in the 50 to 59 year old range, with 73 percent of those people owning a smartphone. With the majority of baby boomers owning a smartphone, it’s important that your website is mobile responsive.
Camping World does a good job of maintaining consistency between their desktop and mobile websites. At the same time, the site is responsive for smaller screens, allowing shoppers to browse or RVs easily from a smartphone.
Note how the image features an older couple with their extended family.
3. Avoid Clickbait.
Baby boomers are smart. They aren’t going to fall for clickbait articles. If you don’t come right out and tell them what the article is about, they aren’t going to bother with it.
However, if you present what you have to offer in an upfront way, then they are likely to click on it as long as the topic pertains to them.
4. Provide Helpful Information.
Baby boomers are mature. They’ve been on this earth for quite a while and they don’t have time for a bunch of nonsense. They want information that will help them live their lives to the fullest.
They want it up front and factual. If you give baby boomers the information they need, they will run with that information and feel they are equipped to make the best decision possible.
Medical Guardian offers a blog that provides information to help seniors live healthy, full lives. They cover a variety of topics, including personal finances for seniors, how to age successfully, and even tips on how to know if you need a medical alert system.
5. Determine the Best Social Media Platform.
When it comes to marketing on social media, you need to figure out where seniors congregate. Even though Instagram and Snapchat are popular, growing platforms, they are not so much so with baby boomers.
About 90 percent of them state they prefer Facebook over Instagram. The key to marketing to this generation is figuring out where they congregate and reaching out via Facebook ads.
6. Don’t Use Hashtags.
About half of baby boomers say they’ve never used a hashtag. Although a quick post with hashtags might seem like a great idea to reach people searching for that tag, it may not be effective with baby boomers and might just confuse them.
Instead, just state what you mean upfront and avoid cutesy hashtags. If you use a hashtag, keep it to a single word and don’t try to put in hashtag phrases.
Look at how AARP markets to its members and potential members on Twitter. Even though they are on the site that is the king of hashtags, they don’t use a hashtag to present this short video. Instead, they use straightforward text and facts to pull the user in.
7. Give Great Customer Service.
Baby boomers grew up in a time when there were no cell phones or automated machines that interacted with them as customers. They like one-on-one interactions as a group, and they appreciate companies that go above and beyond to show that they are an important part of the business.
If your target audience is baby boomers, look at the world through their eyes and figure out where your interactions might lack the human touch.
8. Never Use the Word “Old.”
Remove the word “old” from your vocabulary. Even though they might be over 60, they don’t feel old. Baby boomers as a generation are living older than generations before.
They want to spend every moment of that time experiencing life, traveling the world and going on adventures. Also be aware of copy that is a bit condescending about their age.
T-Mobile seems to have realized that more and more Boomers are buying smartphones. Their recent marketing focuses on value for the 55 plus consumer, which is something this generation appreciates.
Yet, nowhere in their advertising do they say that their plans are for seniors. In fact, doing so might even limit your marketing efforts because even a campaign targeted to seniors can impact other generations.
9. Target Their Money to Spend.
Even though there are more millennials than baby boomers, 70 percent of the disposable income in the United States is in the hand of boomers. Understanding that this age group has money to spend and is willing to invest in the latest gadgets and technology will change the way you market.
Boomers have money to spend, but they want to spend it wisely, so make a case for why your product will be a good match for them and why it is the best choice out there.
10. Dedicate Information to Improving Lifestyle.
When creating your marketing campaign, hone in on how your product or service will improve the baby boomer’s lifestyle. This is the generation that saw televisions come into every home and began to use telephones for everything.
Even though they do prefer face-to-face interactions, they also will go online. Because they have disposable income, they also don't mind spending money on a little comfort and luxury. Appeal to how you can improve their lives, and you have a better chance of selling to them.
Marketing Strategies Targeting Baby Boomers
To effectively market to any generation, you need to understand the basics of what makes that generation unique. Study the time period in which baby boomers grew up, talk to people in that age group and look at generalizations about the generation as a whole.
At the same time, however, be aware that each person is an individual. You have to find the exact mix that works to reach those who are interested in what you have to offer.