The second oldest living generation, the Baby Boomers, is currently the wealthiest age group right now. In fact, they control a significant portion of the USA's wealth!
Baby Boomers are a force to be reckoned with, and you'll need an effective strategy in place to attract, convert, and retain them if you want your company's sales figures to stay strong.
But before Mom and Dad hand you the keys to the kingdom (as many online company owners have Baby Boomers for parents or grandparents), you need to convince them enough that you are worthy of such a reward. Such is also the way to tease this market segment into subscribing to your offer or buying your product. How exactly do you do that? Let's find out.
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Baby boomers are no longer the new kids on the block. In fact, they're currently living through what is often referred to as "the golden age." They have financial stability and disposable income to spend on products and services that interest them.
The marketing industry has been keenly aware of this for some time now, which means there's a vast wealth of information available about how these individuals prefer to be marketed to. With so much data available, it can be difficult to figure out where you should start when trying to create an advertising campaign targeted at baby boomers. Don't worry; you don't need to search elsewhere as this guide will give you everything you need to know.
Who Are the Baby Boomers?
As of 2021, Baby Boomers are individuals who are between 56 to 75 years old (born between 1946 and 1964, inclusive). This means that this generation is the parents or grandparents of the younger generations X, Y, and Z (Generation Xers, Millennials, and Centennials, respectively).
Speaking of Generation Y, check out our marketing to Millennials guide.
Why Market to Baby Boomers: Some Awesome Info That Will Get You Pumped Up
Considering that most of the technology and innovations we have at the moment, especially in terms of IT and communications, were made by Gen Xers and Millennials, it is not surprising that a lot of marketers today are clueless when it comes to catering to Boomers.
Before you start your marketing strategy, here are some facts about this age group that is vital to crafting your techniques.
In the United States alone, there are an estimated over 71 million baby boomers, which just so happens to be a substantial percentage of all US citizens and voters (roughly 35%). In China, another rising market when it comes to spending, there are roughly 380 to 400 million from this market segment. In Europe, this generation comprises 20% of the population, or roughly 90 million.
Worldwide, there are more than 1.1 billion people between 56 to 75 years old. That translates to 15% of the world population, (even if the rest of the world doesn’t call this age group the Boomer Generation).
Because of the sheer amount of Baby Boomers in the world, even your biggest direct competitors won't have a monopoly over them, no matter how big their marketing budget may be.
According to Visual Capitalist, the average wealth of this generation in the US is a whopping $834,000 thousand dollars per person, with the median net worth as $146,000. That's an awesome amount any way you look at it!
Right now, those between ages 55 and 69 control 50% of the share of wealth. This is great news for marketing as this generation still makes up a significant part of the population, and they are becoming wealthier as time goes on.
The Boomer Generation is more adept with the internet than we may think. In fact, they are the fastest-growing group on Facebook. They also tend to spend more time online than Millennials. Both Generation Xers and Baby Boomers consider themselves techies who have a great understanding of how technology is changing our world. So the next time you think that they are too old to buy online, think again.
The Digital Revolution has been around long enough now that so many seniors know what social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are even though some never joined.
According to Marketing Charts, adult consumers that belong to high-income brackets use the internet (whether via mobile or desktop) to make a purchase.
If you're a baby boomer, it may be time to finally admit that from clothes shopping to coffee ordering and even grocery shopping -- the web is your new best friend.
A recent study by AARP found that boomers are now more likely than millennials or Gen X' ers (which have traditionally been considered "digital natives") to not only own smartphones but also use them for banking purposes such as online transfers and bill payment options. However, they prefer to use desktop devices so much more than mobile ones according to a study by Millward Brown Digital.
Now with these three important facts, it would be a huge surprise if you try to overlook the Boomer Generation. They can be your most valuable customers and can significantly impact your business!
Important Characteristics of Baby Boomers
The information above must have gotten you hyped up. But before you start switching your ad creatives to reflect this age group, there are four important matters you need to know about this market segment.
After all, effective marketing relies on you understanding your target market, right? You can also use these information below when creating your buyer persona.
To understand your audience means that you not only look into their main interests and pain points, but you also have to understand the way they “see the world”. Knowing what your audience wants is already difficult as it is, imagine what will happen if you’re working on something that is for a different generation? It could become quite complicated, but it is not entirely impossible for you to succeed.
Targeting Baby Boomers through the online environment is said to be the Second Age of the Digital Marketplace. Given that this generation is also in their “second age” – that time after retirement when they have time and money to enjoy their lives – there is a business potential here that marketers should not ignore.
Simply put, this demographic has all the time in the world and a lot of money to burn – so if there is any generation you should be prioritizing, it should be the Boomers.
With that in mind, here are the 4 reasons why you should put some more effort into capturing the attention of Baby Boomers.
1. They Have Disposable Income
Whatever you’re selling, you can be assured that there is a Baby Boomer ready to spend for it. Why? Because they have the money to do so.
They have their retirement funds at the ready to get into whatever “the kids” are into today, even when they don’t “get it”. Like the younger generations, they also have access to social media and can be enticed by advertisements. However, unlike Gen X and Gen Y, they can afford to buy a cool boat without having to live paycheck to paycheck (ouch!).
Think about it this way: no typical Gen Xer or Millennial would be able to afford stuff that are over a few thousand dollars, because right now, these generations are focused on supporting their own families (hello, baby diapers and formula) or their dreams (traveling around the world and spending on “experiences”).
In the case of Millenials, they are most likely still struggling to pay student debts and/or credit card debts. Although some of them are trailblazers and start-ups, they are nowhere near the earning potential of Boomers when they were at this age. Hence, you must not rely on these generations alone to support your business. There should always be a capacity to go wide with other markets.
Most importantly, it has been found that this age group overpowered Gen Y and now spends 20% more than Millennials when it comes to online purchasing! If that doesn't make you want to take advantage of this segment of the market right now, then I don't know what does.
2. They Worked Hard
It is said that the Baby Boomers are among the most hardworking people, as their values come from being raised by parents who went to war. With the world economies struggling at that time, this generation grew up valuing more practical things over luxuries. This means they were deprived (or they deprived themselves) of what they wanted. There is a yearning that they were not able to fulfill.
Now that they are in the retirement age, they get to enjoy life the way they want to. The economy is not as it used to be. Even if the recent times are fluctuating because of the pandemic, they still think that this is nothing compared to what they grew up having to face.
Those items that they used to consider luxuries are now within reach because they have the money and their worries about the future are far behind. They don’t have much time to live, why not spend this remaining time in extravagance that used to be a distant dream? You can bet that they would be willing to part with their money to get to enjoy those things.
3. They Want To Be Heard
Like any other generation, they want to be included, but most importantly, they want to be heard.
Have you ever encountered a Baby Boomer responding to issues online by posting their comments? Some were full of wisdom, others were not really what many younger generations would consider appropriate in this time and age. Hence, the explosion of the term, “Ok, Boomer,” which essentially means the person is too tired to explain or argue with someone from the Boomer Generation.
While there is a negative connotation to this phrase, it also gives us this vital clue that Baby Boomers are digitally aware right now and would go to great lengths to get their voice out there; to let their opinions be heard. Keep this in mind when promoting your offers or maintaining a customer-seller relationship: you must show them that you value their opinion.
If you work on marketing your products with the Baby Boomers in mind, rest assured that they will notice you. They want to be the focus, they want to be appreciated.
For instance, if your mom complains about the text on her phone being difficult to read, you can modify the settings on the phone to set a larger font. Your mom would surely appreciate you for this very simple gesture.
If you take this into a marketing perspective, if you develop and market a product that helps improve the lives of Baby Boomers, then you’ll be golden.
4. They Value Nostalgia
One of the main reasons people buy products is that they can relate to them, and they can associate them with something pleasant that happened in their lives. A Gen Zer might be intrigued with the latest gadgets, whereas a Baby Boomer might be into reminiscing about their youth.
While younger people nowadays are reminiscing about the time when they had Nokia and Razr phones, Boomers are more likely to be nostalgic when they see a Volkswagen Beetle, a typewriter, or a record player.
As a Millennial, you might be thinking: but why would I need a typewriter or a record player if I can already type documents and play music on my phone?
Well, that’s the thing: Boomers are more into the nostalgia of it all. So if you think that selling such items in this day and age would be a waste of time, think again: there might be a Boomer just around the corner who is excited to get it the way you get excited waiting for Taylor Swift's new album to drop.
What are Boomers Looking for?
Your wants and needs are different from your parents’ or grandparents’. For one, they are at that stage in life where they are not burdened by having to raise kids while having a full-time job. Their priorities now are very different from yours, especially with the social, cultural, economic, and technological changes that happened throughout the years that they’ve been alive.
For another, they did not grow up with the kinds of technology that you did. Essentially, their skills in navigating through the Internet and social media are not at the same level as yours.
Lastly, their physical capabilities (and, conversely, their needs) are also different from that of the younger generations.
It would be difficult to understand these things without going through what they’ve been through and without growing old yourself (which is obviously not gonna happen any time soon).
That being said, if you are unsure of what the Boomers want and what your business can provide to them, here are a few categories that could be a good place to start.
Baby Boomers want to stay in control, reduce their health care bills, and reduce their risk of illness. As the Baby Boomer population ages and healthcare costs continue to increase, this population is looking for products and services that make life easier and help them to achieve their health goals.
They will do anything in order to get their health care needs taken care of and in the most convenient way possible. So if you are marketing, say, a clinic to Boomers, highlighting that they can avoid long waits and unnecessary tests at your clinic is something that they might find appealing.
As part of their efforts to maintain their health, Baby Boomers also have specific nutritional needs, and therefore specific food that they need to consume. At the same time, there are also food items that they tend to avoid (usually, as recommended by their doctors), like salty or high-cholesterol food.
They are also at that age when they are starting to (or already have) lost a lot (if not most) of their teeth. As you can see, the types of food that would be appealing to them would most likely be the ones that are healthy and easy to consume, but of course, are still tasty – which is something that could be difficult to find.
According to Statista, 27% of this age group in the US has made online purchases of food and grocery items to be delivered to their homes. If you are in this industry, you should consider including a line-up of Boomer-targeted food products in your menu.
Baby Boomers are said to be picky customers, but the truth is, they don’t actually know what they want (usually). In most cases, they are not informed enough to make sound purchasing decisions – and this is where you come in. Your duty as a marketer is to enlighten your audience, so it is important to do so in a way that is accessible to Boomers. It is up to you to let them know why your product matters to them (do pain points ring a bell?).
To do so, you need to analyze the needs of your target audience. It is very important that they are not just aware but also understand how and why these products or services will benefit them in their day-to-day lives. This way it’s easier for Boomers to make decisions about what suits them best.
Expectations on Offers and Products
In order to keep baby boomers happy, make sure they are in control and that what you offer is convenient. They want simplicity with their products so focus on making it easier for them by getting rid of the complicated parts or finding a way around those complexities when possible (note: this does not mean creating lazier versions; Boomers still value quality).
When creating a landing page for your offers, make sure that it contains information that they need. Don’t hesitate to make them read long-form content; it works well for them, as they prefer that from short-copy and infographics.
Double-check that Call-to-Action buttons are noticeable but not too loud and are placed at appropriate places, such as after the content.
- Sense of Importance
How can your offer make them feel? How will others perceive them if they use your product? Baby Boomers are very concerned about what others think of them. They want to feel valued and respected. They want to feel that their opinion matters.
- Have Strong Work Ethic
Baby Boomers are the generation that built this country. They remember when men were “men” and women stayed at home to take care of their family or worked in a "woman's profession" (while this concept may be frowned upon in our society right now, many still in this age group still believes in this).
Baby boomers had enough discipline, strength of character & determination which is why they managed so well during tough times (elevated unemployment rates post 2008 recession).
They don't want anyone telling them what retirement means because it doesn’t mean sitting around collecting social security checks all day while watching TV! Retirement should be about finding ways for individuals to work from places other than an office desk location - even if those opportunities have less pay than what they used to earn.
- Has Brand Loyalty
They don't immediately switch to different brands even if they are offered better quality or deal. The reason for this loyalty is that they don't want to change their routines. And when there are other people involved, such as grandchildren who have grown up with a particular brand of cereal or cookies, it's hard not to keep buying the same thing year after year. So what if prices go higher than before?
What to Consider When Marketing to Baby Boomers
Getting the attention of Baby Boomers will require you to modify your sales and marketing strategies to match their preferences. If they subscribe to your marketing emails, checking in on them once in a while (even through automated messages) would make them feel like they are “in the loop”.
A good UI/UX design that is suitable for Boomers could go a long way. Apart from wanting larger fonts, Baby Boomers expect to find information on their chosen topics with the click of a button and to have it immediately accessible in the format they choose.
They want to be able to go to the source quickly, and they prefer to read on their own time, rather than have to wait for it to be e-mailed to them or read online. They follow a certain flow, so if your website is too “techy”, they might have difficulty navigating it and would leave immediately.
In order to make websites easier for users to read, it's important that the typography is either very dark on a light background or vice versa. It can be difficult for some people with low vision issues (and who have low vision concerns? Yep, seniors.) to read the text on a page that has colorful backgrounds. Not to mention they will consider this loud and unprofessional. White space is key in making websites look professional for this age group’s taste.
Furthermore, text sizes must not be too small. The recommended font size for most websites is 16pt; it would be best not to go below this size. Remember to add spaces between paragraphs to emphasize the separation of thought as well.
Yes, they spend a lot of time online, but do you know what they like? Consistency. They want websites to have the same functionality. If you are marketing to them, keep this in mind when designing your landing pages.
So far, we have established that Baby Boomers have specific interests that might not necessarily be interesting for Millennials or Gen Z. The same goes for their type of humor: Boomers are amused by different stuff that Millennials might find too boring. The good thing about this is that it is most likely easier to make Boomers laugh with simple things, even when they are not in line with today’s pop culture.
This means that if you want to create marketing or advertising content for Boomers, you don’t have to make it complicated. A simple reference to the time when hitchhiking was a thing, and the absurdity of it if you were to do it today, could get you a chuckle from a Boomer.
Think about it: if you market specifically to Millennials today, the first thing you want to do is to reference pop culture – which is a surefire way to get their attention. This is still true for when you want to appeal to Boomers, except the things you want to reference are the ones that were pop culture back in the day. Pop culture is popular for a reason, so it is best to include it in your marketing strategy.
For example, referencing the Beatles might be a better way to gain their attention than mentioning Katy Perry.
Baby boomers are convinced that they deserve their seniority to be recognized by those younger. They want others to follow in the footsteps of older generations and show them some respect- tradition dictates it so!
So how do you show respect? By using the appropriate words, as in, words that are common enough that even the layman could understand (of course, feel free to use technical terms for technical tools). While the words “stan” and “ship” might mean something to Gen Xers and Millennials, these words are pretty useless if you want to appeal to Baby Boomers.
Furthermore, don’t take shortcuts. This generation hates abbreviations and technological jargon.
Funny enough, while respect is important because of age, referring to Baby Boomers as “old” or “elderly” will automatically turn them off. So never, ever use these words if you don’t want them to leave your page as soon as they catch a whiff of that.
Native Ads Examples for Baby Boomers
Now that you know basically everything you need to about Baby Boomers, it’s time to see how different advertisers market to this generation.
1. Mature Dating
Even though they’re in their senior years doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re in stable relationships. Most of them are still seeking companionship. As we’ve mentioned above, saying the right words is crucial. As you would notice in these dating ads, they don’t use the words old or elderly. The alternatives are “mature” and “senior”. Mentioning a specific age can at times help.
This landing page below is targeted at senior males in Turkey, and it states that “mature single women coming from every corner of Turkey”.
Of course, images that reflect the age that you are targeting have a big impact. This dating ad below displays women in various age “groups” of seniors. This allows the target audience to find at least one age group that might match their interests.
2. Skin Care
Baby Boomer women tend to want to look better even with age, which is why skincare clinics and dermatology centers are booming. Those who want to avoid invasive procedures tend to choose skin creams, which is what this offer is focusing on. That they are targeting Boomers is very evident in this landing page, which features senior women looking better by just using moisturizer.
Since this is the first time that the person sees the brand, it can be tough to convince her to purchase. What the advertiser did was to establish a connection with the user based on familiar brands, such as “Oprah”, “Hello”, “OK”, and more.
They also added testimonials on the right sidebar. Why at the sidebar and not at the bottom? There are some more testimonials at the bottom but they added some at the sidebar above the fold so that viewers can see them immediately.
Both the well-known brands and the testimonials are trust badges used to establish a landing page’s credibility.
3. Male Health
This advert below is one good example of establishing an emotional connection with the reader -- and the advertisers did this through storytelling. Saying that this was the experience of someone of their age gives the reader the confidence that the product might help him in his difficulties, too. Furthermore, the heading and the image hit the nail on the head when it comes to pain points.
Just like in the skincare advert above, this landing page displayed the logos of well-known brands to establish credibility and receive trust transference.
4. Healthcare/Medical Insurance
We don’t have to reiterate why healthcare is important to Baby Boomers -- it’s because they need it! Those who can afford it will spend on the best health care that money can buy.
BUT, and that’s a big but, if there is a way to save on health insurance and still get the best health care possible, Baby Boomers will jump on the opportunity. They spend money, but most of them want to do it wisely (and not gratuitously).
The headline on this landing page is very upfront. Even the image that displays an elderly looking at his medication says a lot. The rest of the page follows the same pattern.
It asks the viewer to choose his/her state and see what options are available to him or her. The choice is made easier by adding a map that the page implies is interactive (that you can really choose your state). The fact is the map is just a clickable image, that when clicked will redirect the user to the offer page. The elderly viewer will likely not notice that though.
5. Life Insurance
Family is important for Baby Boomers, which is why this landing page prominently features a senior woman being hugged by her daughter. This aptly displays how one’s passing can impact their family, so they better be prepared now.
Now although we have stated that many Baby Boomers are well off, there are still a lot of them who are financially strapped. This is one ad that attracts those on the lower spectrum by stating that this life insurance offer only costs a few pennies per day.
6. Health Boosters
Health boosters are products or services that help seniors feel better about themselves -- physically and emotionally. Products that help reduce pain, prevent the onslaught of diabetes, enhance memory, brighten vision -- these are just some items that Baby Boomers are eager to get a hold of.
Check out this advertisement above. It states that a simple 10-minute stretch can help reduce back pain. To prove their point, they displayed a woman well into her sixties stretching like a 19-year old! The image itself sells the offer.
This short-form page has a simple and harmless-looking call to action (Watch Now) that would encourage audiences to actually click on it to see how it works. There is no clear offer on this page, which is good because it helps the viewer feel that he is not being sold to -- instead, he is being given something of value for free. That warms up cold audiences as nothing could.
If you would notice from all these ad examples above, marketers did not hesitate to use images of senior people, images that Baby Boomers can relate to. This helps them place themselves in the situation, quickly establishing relatability.
Final Thoughts on Marketing to Baby Boomers
Baby boomers are a unique group of people who have had an enormous impact on society. As they age, marketers need to find ways to target this demographic in order to sell products and services that will be relevant for the time when these customers retire.
And because they have a lot of disposable income, businesses should consider including this demographic in their target segments. Who knows? Their business might raise your own business to the next level. So before you say, “Ok, Boomer,” you might want to consider saying, “Yes, Boomer” instead.
Ready to use native advertising to market to Boomers, or other generations, for that matter? Get started by signing up for a 15-day trial of our platform!