Marketing to Baby Boomers Online
Competitive, independent, and full of disposable income, the Baby Boomers (now ages 46-64) are one of the wealthiest and largest market segments in the USA (as well as the UK and Australia). They partied at Woodstock, watched the Watergate scandal on an old Zenith Console TV, protested the Vietnam draft, and saw social and economic changes that younger generations have never experienced. In 2009, the spent over 2 trillion dollars on “non essentials,” and they sit on 70% of the nation’s wealth (US Census Bureau) yet only 10% of marketing efforts are targeted to this demographic (US Bureau of Labor). In any case, I hope that you find this post interesting, informative, and helpful as you begin to think about targeting your next marketing campaign to Boomers.
If you prefer the “short version” of Marketing to Baby Boomers Online, I’ve put together a complimentary slide show that I really think you’ll enjoy! Check it out below.
I recently spoke with Holly Buchanan, co-author of the book “The Soccer Mom Myth,” and an expert in niche marketing, about the topic of marketing to Baby Boomers online. Holly gave me 3 great tips for targeting Baby Boomers.
Here are 3 tips for creating an online experience boomers will love:
1) Don’t default to pictures of couples. Many boomer women are outliving their husbands, or are getting divorced and not remarrying. He may no longer be in the picture. Include testimonials that feature a common objection. Boomers are skeptical – they’ve been there, done that. If a testimonial addresses a common objection, but then tells how the product overcame that objection, boomers (and all people for that matter) are more likely to believe the testimonial.
Check for readability. Don’t use tiny font or reverse text that’s difficult for people to read.
2) Include testimonials that feature a common objection. Boomers are skeptical – they’ve been there, done that. If a testimonial addresses a common objection, but then tells how the product overcame that objection, boomers (and all people for that matter) are more likely to believe the testimonial.
3) Check for readability. Don’t use tiny font or reverse text that’s difficult for people to read.
Why Market to Baby Boomers?
Many complain that targeting this demographic is not worth it, that they just don’t take the bait. Therein lies a major misconception; one that has caused many to miss out on the opportunity to capitalize on a group that enjoys spending their money on valuable products, travel, leisure, and products that enhance their active lifestyles. Most importantly, Baby Boomers enjoy spending their hard earned money! Recent studies reveal that Boomer purchases account for:
- 80% of luxury cars
- 74% of prescription drugs
- 80% of luxury travel
- 25% of toys (gotta love the grandparents).
- Additionally, many boomers report that they will be investing in 2nd homes after turning 50. The National Association of Realtors reports that over a quarter of Baby Boomers own 2 properties or more.
- As the economy recovers, online brokerages could benefit.
- Health issues: vision, hearing loss, menopause, cholesterol, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction. Since Viagra appeared on the market in ‘98, sales for erectile dysfunction drugs are now well over $2 billion per year.
Boomers are using the recession to awaken their entrepreneurial spirits, or possibly just to take up a new hobby (Biz Opps, anyone?!). They are (in fact) online, though as I will point out later, offline targeting may prove to be worthwhile (i.e. more traditional sources to drive traffic online).
WHERE are Baby Boomers online and where can you, as marketers, find them?
Email: Nearly 92% of Boomers online check their email frequently throughout the day.
Social Networks: Facebook, Eons.com, VibrantNation.com, etc.
Health Websites: 82% of Boomers use the Internet to research health topics. Consider WebMD, American Heart Association, etc.
Activity, Travel, and or Leisure Websites: Travel + Leisure Magazine Online, Golf.com, Retirement Living TV online, ThirdAge.com, etc.
Boomer Dating Sites: Divorcees on the Prowl
National and Local News Websites: The largest age group browsing Fox News is 50 or more years of age according to Quantcast data. AARP, ScienceDaily.com, Time Magazine, Newsweek, etc. Also, consider local newspaper websites. Because Boomers enjoy reading local news, they are quickly transitioning from reading the local paper, to reading the local paper online.
Traditional Media: According to the Pew Internet and America Life Project, 92% of Boomers report reading about a website in a magazine ad and then visiting the site, and 89% report seeing a print ad (offline) and going to the website.
WHAT are typical Boomer Characteristics?
Some typical Baby Boomer Characteristics are:
- Competitive, Hardworking, Driven
- Active, fitness, health, well-being
- Willing to express opinions and thoughts readily
- Giving to others, social causes, charities
- Work hard, play hard mentality. Boomer’s love to have fun!
- High expectations
- Acceptance into Society
Consider your Copy – They are NOT “Seniors”
Marketing to Baby Boomers is not like marketing to previous “senior” generation. First off…the last thing a Baby Boomer wants to be called is a “senior.” They act younger, think younger, and behave differently than other so-called seniors. As an active and competitive group, they do not want to be thought of as “old” and the last think they want is some painful arthritis holding them back. So, I really think that the term “senior marketing” needs to be dropped. Which of the following would better increase the chances of a Boomer clicking on ad?
- A) An ad that describes how an arthritis medication prevents bones from breaking or
- B) An ad for arthritis medication that shows it enables Mr. & Mrs. Boomer to get out on the Golf Course more frequently?
Use the active voice, get straight to the point, and don’t overuse marketing terminology that is too flashy. Boomers are well-educated and see past ad copy that is obviously overstated.
Landing Pages and Creatives
There is always a tendency to develop websites around those who are youthful and “tech-savvy.” When marketing to Boomers, think about what they are experiencing, physically (i.e. aging eyes), when viewing a landing page. Here are some useful tips to consider when designing a landing page targeting Baby Boomers.
- Use a sans serif typeface, such as Arial, that is not condensed. Changes in vision that occur with age can make it more difficult to read a computer screen and fonts with letters spaced too closely together.
- Use 12 point or 14 point type size for body text and double space all body text. Left justified text is optimal for boomer’s reading preferences.
- Avoid patterns, colors that cause dissonance (i.e. confusion to the eye; yellow+blue), and always keep it simple.
- Design in black and white. When finished, add color for emphasis.
- Increase the easy of navigation.
- Avoid cluttered ads.
Thanks so much for tuning into this report.