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Top 7 Ways to Market to Baby Boomers

The Facts About the Generation
According to the US Census, 77 million people were born in the Baby Boomer era. This fascinating group of Americans make up the largest group in our nation. In fact, an American turns 50 years old every 7 seconds, more than 12,500 people every day! This generation has experienced every historical, cultural and marketing trend and phenomenon of the past half century (think Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" lyrics). This unique group of individuals have specific habits that define their generation. Let's take a closer look.

For starters, Baby Boomers are wealthy. According to the U.S. Census and Federal Reserve, 78 million Americans who were 50 or older as of 2001 controlled 67% of the country's wealth, which equals to about $28 trillion dollars. Baby boomers were taught to save and spend money carefully, which they exercise to this day due to the economy. Finding great deals in the paper, cutting coupons, and not touching their savings is a characteristic that they learned in their youth as a result from inheriting their parents' values from the Great Depression. Although they do have this amount of wealth and understand the value of the dollar, Baby Boomers spend their money wisely.

Baby Boomers have $2.3 trillion in disposable income, the largest amount for any generation. While they do know how to save their money, they know how to spend it as well. Retirement is a goal for all Baby Boomers, and once they hit retirement, statistics show they go on a large spending spree. Half of Baby Boomers plan to buy a new home after retirement, and are the most likely generation to make a home repair every six months or so. Baby Boomers have the money to spend, but they do so wisely. Where they do spend the money is where they know they will attain happiness, whether that be a new house, gadget, travel, car, or something to better the lives of them themselves and those around them.

How to Take Action
So, what does this mean to you? Baby Boomers are looking to spend, but wisely. They use social media sparingly, but are getting more and more involved as it becomes popular. With time and money on their hands for retirement, Baby Boomers like to try new things and explore new options. They value the ease of direct mailers and coupons they find in print media. They watch the news on TV, and a few prime time programs on the major networks. Finally, two-thirds of Americans age 50-64 use the Internet and visit specific websites of interest to their age category. Here are a few examples of marketing strategies to reach Baby Boomers that you can afford.

  1. Create a Facebook Fan page for your business that is simple for users to understand and utilize. Link any viral videos on YouTube that your business may have, or for information in general. Simplicity is important.
  2. Tweet deals from your business' Twitter account, but make it obvious that you are offering a deal or coupon. Use to shorten links to your website where you can find the deal and to make it clearer to your followers that you have a deal. Ex: "Save 20% TODAY with our new online offer! Print & bring in store. (link)"
  3. Ever notice how around the Price is Right, soap operas, or any daytime show on a major network you will hear multiple commercials for insurance? The insurance companies place their insurance advertisements for Baby Boomers during a time they know this generation will be tuned into the TV. Follow this strategy when you are marketing to Baby Boomers via the mass media: pick a medium and location you can guarantee they will see your advertisement.
  4. Radio advertisements are a great alternative to an expensive TV commercial for marketing. Engage with listeners by being informative, yet catchy to remember the phone number. Relate to listeners, and tug on their emotions to encourage them to act immediately.
  5. Baby Boomers have time and money, and try new things to fulfil their life dreams. Some travel, some go back to school, some start their own business, and some pick up new hobbies. Whichever option Baby Boomers choose, they value the feeling of youth and living life to the fullest. Try incorporating some of the Baby Boomers' classic songs in your advertising to grab their attention, and tie into the feeling of the "good old days" and how you can bring them back to that happy feeling. Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia!
  6. Ever wonder why stores ask for your phone number and/or email address upon purchasing? They are getting your information to send you coupons, deals, and direct mailers to use at their place of business. Send these deals out to your address book on a schedule; every two to four weeks is appropriate.
  7. The Baby Boomers on the internet go to specific websites rather than surf the web. Banner ads are another great means in which to market to this generation. Start with creating ads that are based in emotion rather than facts. This generates more results, as does marketing to a "life stage" rather than the actual age. Don't forget to keep your message positive instead of threatening. Bold colors work while pastels should be avoided. Definitely don't do flashing or obtrusive as Boomers get annoyed and move away from those quickly. Some of the best places for those banners are on sites that revolve around retirement, travel, insurance and sweepstakes.
Think about this: By 2010, adults 45-years-old and older will out-spend younger adults by $1 trillion annually. Baby Boomers have the money and are willing to spend it wisely. How is your business going to stand out to Baby Boomers? Act wisely.
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