If you thought marketing to baby boomers was a difficult proposition, you are not really far from reality. People who were born between 1946 and 1964 fall into this category and have certain traits that make them unique, when it comes to marketing to them online. They are not digital natives like the millennial generation, who were born between 1982 and 2001. They have been slower to adapt to the changes that have taken place in the world of digital media and the Internet, but that does not mean a company can afford to overlook this vibrant demographic.
Who Are the Baby Boomers?
Baby boomers can be described as those who are in their middle age at the moment or about to retire. In fact, the oldest baby boomers have crossed retirement age, giving them more time to get acquainted with digital media. Most baby boomers have remained conservative and skeptical when it comes to social networking.
If 77% of the millennial generation has a presence on social networking sites, only half of that percentage can be found on social networking sites if we consider baby boomers. However, younger boomers are increasingly using networking sites and browsing the Internet and this seems to be a growing trend.
Baby boomers rejected their parental authority, conservativism of that time and were influenced by the 60s and 70s cultures. At the moment, they are the most influential, affluent and powerful members of the community. They also happen to be the ones with the highest spending powers. With a stable income and wise investment plans, baby boomers when targeted efficiently, can be a great demographic to tap.
How Baby Boomers Use Digital Media
Todd Wasserman notes that younger boomers (aged between 47 and 55) spent 39.3 hours browsing the Internet every month where as the older boomers between the ages of 56 and 65 spent 36.5 hours. Much of this time was spent in purchasing goods and services. On the other hand, though the millennial generation uses the internet for several hours every day, they spend very little as compared to the boomers.
Targeting baby boomers in ad campaigns is a very important strategy and is something that should not be ignored. Baby boomers also tend to use LinkedIn the most, as they find it more reliable and credible than other social networks. An increasing number of baby boomers have begun to use Facebook as well, but LinkedIn remains their preferred social network. Companies and business that want to target boomers must create groups and discussions on LinkedIn and rely upon seriously worded copy, instead of using trendy copy which would appeal to millennial generation members.
Moreover, boomers tend to trust traditional news sources like CNN, Fox, Christian Science Monitor and the like. It is difficult to purchase ad spaces on these websites as ad budgets can sky rocket. Instead, digital marketing must adopt a very serious, reliable yet personal role without being too intrusive.
Importance of Referrals, Trust and Reliability
Talking about reliability and trust, we cannot ignore the importance of referral marketing when it comes to baby boomers. In fact, referrals are the single most valuable way to get boomers interested in what you are trying to sell. If you can get influential members of boomer communities to act as referrals to your products, they will most certainly be able to influence other boomers, because that is how this generation’s psyche works.
No matter what you have been told all this while about referral marketing, it is the single most important way to market to baby boomers. You might want to try and be associated with trustworthy companies like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, Apple or Wells Fargo, if you want to attract the interest of boomers. How then, as a small company, will you be able to get your company’s name associated with reliable and trustworthy companies?
One of the ways is to get insiders from those companies to guest blog for you. If this strategy does not work for you, you can try and get baby boomers who are prominent in their communities to do the talking for your company or product.
Crux of the Matter
No matter which strategy you adopt, it is important to note that making sweeping generalizations can be detrimental to your marketing strategy online and offline. You will have to be as authentic and trustworthy as possible and also have a strong conviction in your own products, services and ethics.