Baby boomers represent more than 80 million U.S. consumers and hold a whopping 70 percent of the nation’s disposable income. So one would think that marketers typically spend a large percentage of their advertising dollars targeting this powerful segment. They don’t.
Surprisingly, baby boomers are pretty much overlooked, with less than 5 percent of advertising budgets aimed at this influential generation. The reason? A misconception that the 50-plus market is set in its ways when it comes to purchasing. The fact is, they are actually less brand loyal than millennials.
In addition, their lives have greatly changed since their 20s and 30s. Along with these changes come new priorities, interests and perceptions — which means boomers are ripe for targeting as they routinely incorporate new products and services into their everyday lives.
And considering that baby boomers don’t mind spending more (if whatever is being advertised lives up to the hype), this largely overlooked group is a marketer’s dream.
So what’s the best way for companies to start taking advantage of this missed opportunity? The first step is taking into account how lifestyle and consumption habits have changed throughout the years, as 60 really has become the new 40.
Baby boomers are more active than their parents probably ever were, and they are more likely to incorporate fitness and well-being into everyday life. This group also has a longer life expectancy than previous generations, meaning they have a desire to live every year to the fullest with products and services that are not only good for their health but also make them feel good about their new stages in life.
While baby boomers relish luxuries and don’t mind spending more for them, it’s important that marketers back up product claims, since this inquisitive group tends to look beyond the glossy photos. After all, they weren’t born yesterday.
Marketers must also take into account that the age of baby boomers ranges from 51 to 69. This large differential should guide how marketers segment and target their audiences. For instance, while boomers age 65 and older might be interested in going on a cruise, a more active vacation might appeal to younger boomers.
Another misconception is that baby boomers aren’t technologically savvy. They are — and a third of them label themselves as heavy Internet users. In addition, over 27 million social networking users in the United States are over the age of 55. So any media plan targeting this generation should require digital and social advertising if it’s going to get the biggest bang for the buck.
Baby boomers offer an amazing growth opportunity for businesses. The marketers who acknowledge this realization are destined to reap the rewards.
Sharon Greenwald – Copywriter, gyro New York
As a copywriter at gyro, Sharon devotes most of her time writing for the financial sector, where her work explores the human side of finance and how it affects the industry as a whole. By qualifying human insights, she is able to engage her audience in a more relevant and effective way.
Sharon’s extensive experience includes general marketing, direct mail, sales promotions and digital. She enjoys exploring trends that are changing the nature of advertising and inspiring new ways to engage consumers.