Marketing to Baby Boomers
In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it is essential to know your target audience. If you assume that everyone is a potential customer, you may as well flush your marketing dollars down the drain. You need to know the age, gender, economic profile, lifestyle, technological sophistication, and consumer behavior of your potential customers. The more you know, the more you can tailor your messaging to the voice and delivery method that is the most effective for them. In today’s post, we are going to cover marketing to Baby Boomers – or “Boomers” – the largest segment of the US population.
The Facts: Baby Boomers
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. They are called Baby Boomers because they are part of the “baby boom” that occurred after World War II ended. They are living longer than their predecessors, have a lot of disposable income, and have amassed quite a bit of wealth.
- Have disposable income. While they represent approximately 44 percent of the US population, Baby Boomers hold 70 percent of its disposable income. They have the highest-paying jobs, and they account for nearly half of all the purchases of consumer-packaged goods – spending the most across all product categories.
- Own homes. Over a third of all US homeowners are Boomers, and they don’t make hasty home-buying decisions! The average time a Baby Boomer spends on a home search is almost five months.
- Have more traditional family values. Less than 40 percent agree with same-sex marriage, but they believe in marriage as an institution. Close to half of Boomers were married between the ages of 18 and 33, and right now, nine out of ten are married.
- Aren’t ready to just sit around. Over one-third of Boomers plan to work past 65 merely for enjoyment, and more than 80 percent have launched business ventures to either increase income, pursue dreams, or be their own bosses.
- Utilize newspapers and magazines. Print is certainly not dead when it comes to Baby Boomers. Almost 60 percent claim that newspapers or magazines influence the start of their consumer product searches.
- Prefer brick-and-mortar stores, as a whole. Over 60 percent prefer the brick-and-mortar buying experience to online-only retailers. They are also very loyal, and will share their feelings about a product or service with friends – and sometimes even strangers!
- Make decisions based on perceived value. Over three-quarters of Boomers will make their purchase decision strictly on value. Baby Boomers account for 80 percent of all luxury travel spending.
- Like to get a bargain. Whether they are looking to save a few dollars or rack up rewards points, Baby Boomers love loyalty programs. Over 85 percent belong to some sort of rewards plan.
The Approach: Baby Boomers
If you think of Gen X as the generation that hates “BS,” you can think of Boomers as the generation that hates to be underrated and overlooked. According to AARP, only five to 10 percent of all marketing efforts are actually targeted to Baby Boomers even though they control more than two-thirds of the disposable income in the US.
When creating your messaging, here are some things to keep in mind:
- They are diligent researchers and buyers. If you speak their language and provide them with useful information, they’ll reward you for it.
- Treat them with respect. They’ve worked hard to own homes, support families, and start companies; they’ve earned your respect.
- Some assumptions are good. With more traditional values, most Baby Boomers will appreciate it if you assume that they are married – or have been – and own their home.
- They won’t be heading into retirement gracefully. Many Boomers want to remain active, both physically and mentally, and may even refrain from retiring altogether. This generation is full of capable leaders, so it’s essential to treat them as such.
- Focus on the physical. Baby Boomers may do some research online, but they aren’t big about shopping there. Most want a physical store with helpful salespeople to guide their purchase. They also prefer paper over digital, so magazines, newspapers, and direct mail are the best ways to reach them.
- It’s all about perception. If you’re selling a product or service, Boomers want to know that it’s the best available. Your marketing campaign needs to focus on what makes you better than your competitors.
- Make them feel the love. Just because they are willing to spend more for something of quality doesn’t mean that they don’t want to feel appreciated. Utilize rewards programs or coupons to make sure they know that you value their loyalty.
Who’s Your Target Market?
Stay tuned for Part Two of our four-part series, where we will go over the characteristics of Generation X – sometimes called the “Baby Bust” generation.
If you are still wondering which target market fits your service or product, you’re not alone. Narrowing your efforts toward just the right audience can be a complicated process, and it’s a process that many businesses fail to get right. Don’t throw away any of your marketing budget! Contact Conveyance today for strategic guidance on all your marketing endeavors.