Forget Millennials. 7 Reasons Why Baby Boomers Are the Ideal Target Market.

There’s a lot of buzz about millennials today and how to market to them.

Marketers often tell you that to appeal to millennials, you need to get on Snapchat and other popular social channels.

You need to learn how to create a video that will go viral.

You need to make sure you’ve got enough of a balance of the ordinary and extraordinary in the messages you try to deliver.

You can’t forget to make remarks about making a real difference in the world.

While we, as marketers, can do all this and more, it can get exhausting!

Why are we crafting the majority of our messages to millennials when there are 74.9 million baby boomers out there who want to buy our products too?

We do this because the number of millennials has surpassed the number of baby boomers. There are 75.4 million millennials today (millennials are defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34). But the difference between millennials and baby boomers is small.

Marketing to millennials can feel crazed. It means high-energy, quickly-consumable, frenzied marketing because they have a “fear of missing out,” also known as FOMO.

Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, also have a need to be informed, but they’re a little more patient about it.

It’s true that no company can focus on just one generation. You have to have a strategy appealing to everyone on some level, and that’s why targeting is so important.

Whenever I work with a company to define its customer, I focus on understanding its target market and then segmenting it.

Often, what I find is that a single product or service can be marketed to each of the three generational segments:

  1. Baby boomers – born between 1946-1964
  2. Generation X – born between 1965-1980
  3. Millennials – born between 1981-2000

The generation that often gets overlooked is that first one—baby boomers!

When it comes to the 50+ demographic, only 10% of marketing budgets are used to reach this generation.

image01

Why is this the case? Why such low marketing expenditure on a generation which, as I’m about to show you, could be incredibly lucrative?

Some marketers think the boomer generation is boring. They’re not sexy. They’re aging. They’re set in their ways. They’re not tech-savvy. Why even bother?

This is a huge mistake! Boomers can be sexy; they’re not as old as you think; they’re not that set in their ways; and they’re incredibly tech savvy.

Why bother? Because the baby-boom generation is probably the hottest age-defined marketing segment you can tap into.

Baby boomers have money

Millennials may have surpassed boomers in numbers, but more than 70% of the disposable income in the US comes from baby boomers.

And here’s the thing. They actually spend it!

How much do they spend?

Try 3.2 trillion every year.

Yes. Trillion. With a “t.”

image08

And that’s just the US.

If you want to know who will go through with that credit card purchase online, you should probably bet on baby boomers.

Let’s face it. Most millennials don’t have a lot of money.

Look at the generational breakdown. Who has the biggest net worth? And who has the biggest total income?

image03

Answers: Boomers, and boomers.

It’s great to get millennials energized and excited, but at the end of the day, they don’t have the collective power to turn that energy into money for you.

Baby boomers are on social media, big time

A big misconception about baby boomers is that they are old and traditional so they don’t use social media.

In fact, half of people aged 50 to 64 are on social media, likely on more traditional and well-established platforms such as Facebook.

The bottom line is you don’t have to do all your marketing on Periscope or Snapchat.

The largest audience to date on social media is on Facebook. You’ll get your baby boomers there more than anywhere else.

image10

But what do these boomers do on social media?

I think this is fascinating. They’re watching! One social technographic survey found that baby boomers were primarily “spectators.”

image09

In other words, your grandpa might not be the one starting the Reddit flamewar, but he is reading his Facebook news feed.

Let’s take this a step further.

This means baby boomers comprise the largest potential viewership of Facebook advertising!

You can target your Facebook ads demographically. When you do so, why not widen the age group to include baby boomers too?

Look at this survey of baby boomer activity on social media:

image04

Social media marketing is all about engagement. The data shows us that baby boomers are an incredibly likely source of such engagement.

Baby boomers are making purchases to improve their lifestyles

You have to remember that baby boomers created suburbia as we know it. They bought homes. They left the urban decay of the cities. They began living in comfortable communities.

image06

One Forbes marketing writer put it this way:

[Baby boomers] want to be out on their own, in a more luxurious place… They are actively looking for newly constructed homes where they can continue to pursue an active lifestyle surrounded by the latest amenities.

Everyone wants to have fun, right? Millennials, Generation Xers—all of us are eager to have a good time.

But baby boomers, more than any other generation, have both the time and money to spend on comfort, amenities, entertainment, and recreation.

Appeal to these aspirations, and you’ll be speaking to them in a way that resonates with them.

Boomers buy products and services for others, not just themselves

Boomers love to invest in educational products and services, especially for their grandchildren (ahem, the millennials).

If you can market your products in this way, you’ll grab their attention.

They value education, loyalty, and authenticity, and any kind of content or product that fulfills that goal will be of interest to them.

I’ve worked with companies that make apps designed to help parents monitor the health and well-being of small children. (Think baby monitors and associated apps.)

When we dug into the marketing, we discovered that a large percentage of their buyers were in the baby-boom generation!

Further research showed that many baby boomers had taken on the role of primary caregivers of their grandchildren.

As young parents pursued their careers, these grandparents used their retirement to provide care to their grandchildren.

And that’s why your parent-focused product or schoolchild-aged toy might benefit from some baby-boomer-targeted advertising!

Boomers are active online shoppers

Boomers are interested in saving money. Besides shopping, they are doing other things online that make life easier. Investment bankers are trying to convert them with the help of this online investing advice, which is an interesting prospect.

With so many of us trying to convince our audiences to invest in our brands, appealing to baby boomers could be a win-win.

Boomers are very tech savvy

Boomers may have grown up buying everything at a department store and using fax machines, but today, they aren’t afraid of online shopping.

In fact, “66% of people over 50 in the United States routinely make purchases from online retailers.”

And email? They’re all in.

Not only that, but they’re likely to click through and check out the promotion you’re emailing them about!

image02

According to eMarketer, “the majority of baby boomers now own smartphones.”

image07

They’re not using their smartphones as a glorified land line. They’re shopping, researching, and purchasing!

image00

If you’re not marketing to baby boomers on mobile devices, you’re missing out on easy money for your business.

Boomers respond to hipster advertising styles

Some have called boomers the “new hipsters.” They’re the Woodstock generation that grew up and became responsible.

They purchase hipster clothing. They respond to hipster advertising.

They even live in hipster neighborhoods!

image05

Today, loyalty and a sense of well-being are important to them when choosing companies to give their money to, but you can awaken their nostalgia with a good throwback photo every now and then.

Conclusion

Baby boomers as a whole tend to be hard-working people prone to spending money and learning new things.

They want to be informed about the going-ons of the world, and they want to interact with their brands in a personal way. They want you to help them when they are troubleshooting, and they count on you to deliver on a good product when you say you will.

They’re also willing to wait for your messages and communication much longer than millennials.

They won’t tolerate you ignoring them, but they don’t expect you to constantly entertain them.

Knowing these key characteristics about baby boomers is power in your marketing hands because you can tweak your message to appeal to this large group of people.

Don’t fall into the trap of appealing only to millennials with every message.

Baby boomers make up a population that nearly equals the millennials, and they are more active on social media and mobile applications than ever.

Take a long, hard look at your product or service.

Would a baby boomer be interested?

Don’t underestimate this generation. There are very few products or services a baby boomer wouldn’t be interested in, as we saw above.

The least you can do is try. Tweak your messaging; try some new ad targeting; and see what happens!

Do you have a product or service that would appeal to baby boomers?

Comments

  1. J.Ustpassing :

    “… Marketing to millennials can feel crazed …”

    Sold!
    I struggle, really (really) struggle to get into the mindset of the core/younger millennials. I pride myself on the ability to put myself into the audiences shoes – but the younger M’s are my Achilles heel.

    I think the major difference is that the BBs are far less demanding, and lower maintenance (where as the Ms seem to require a lot more exposure, in rapid/shorter bursts).

    That said – it does entirely depend on what you are marketing,
    and the angles you are taking.
    I’ve found that location is a key factor. Things like forums don’t usually possess much representation from the younger generations (including the M’s) – but are saturated with BB’s and the like.
    Tone seems to be another factor – I find myself “explaining” more to the M’s than I do any other age-based group (I have to pair features+benefits more often, where as older generations seem to ‘get it’ without so much, dare I say, hand-holding?).

    On the flip side, M’s seem to hand out loyalty quicker (if for shorter periods). They don’t seem to require quite so much convincing (they want it, they see it, they get it … less research, less time between initialisation and closing etc.).

    Question – will the same approaches apply in 15 years?
    Is it a market-maturity factor – or is it a cultural shift that will carry with that generation?

    • Hard to know for sure but would say attention spans is decreasing though surely it will hit a breaking point.

      The location is something Google is playing with more and more towards SERPs.

    • As a millennial (barf), I often feel that marketers forget that we are a relatively poor demographic. In my opinion, we are exposed to more information/product, and have less discretionary income to take a risk on something (thus the features+benefits explanation). I have to be really sure a product will suit me before I make a purchase. But when I’m ready to order (meaning I’m forced to as the item I’m replacing is really, truly dead), I will order quickly because I have limited time, and because there is an urgency in need.

      Obviously this is anecdotal speculation, but I have a feeling that as I age, I’ll be able to make larger purchases in a less crazed fashion as I’m hoping that my income and spare time will increase. But maybe I’m wrong and it is a cultural shift; who knows what’s in that avocado toast we’re all buying these days?

  2. Hello Neil,

    I haven’t thought about what you have shared in this blog post. It is really amazing. This target audience look lucrative for my business too. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

  3. Rylee William :

    Really great post. Now i learn new things in the social media opportunity to growing business. Thanks for this article

  4. Really it’s Helpfull

  5. Hi,
    This article is so informative.you collect very productive information.It will be helpful for us.Thanks for collecting this information.
    Finally you done a great job

  6. This makes sense but however wouldnt you also mention that you have 2 b selling something that the baby boomers demographic is into. For example I dont think trying to sell them fitness and nutrition programs will work as much as people of that age dont really care about that stuff as much as younger people. Instead sell them something that revolves around their lives. please let me know what you think Neil.

  7. Hi Neil,

    In my own little experience too Facebook has been the most powerful advertising plataform to target baby boomers. I ran a myriad of ads for a client to test out how could I possibly target an audience of that age group and FB came out as a clear winner.

    To put my curiousity to rest I interacted with some customers (with client’s permission) that came via FB and a good majority of them said it’s a need for them to be on facebook because it allows them to be in touch with their kids and grandkids. I was fascinated how a couple of them learnt how to operate FB and smartphones just to not be left out.

    Sure, I agree with the point made in your blog that this segment is more tech savvy than anyone could imagine.

    Thanks for the great post 🙂

  8. People born in 1981 are part of the Gen-X bunch. Why some small group of idiots keep clumping them with millenials is awfully strange. it does not even make mathematical sense.

  9. Shakoat Hossain @wideHow :

    Neil,

    Great write up!

    I don’t have sufficient knowledge about baby boomers though kinda at all about the demographic group born during the post–World War II baby boom. 😉

    Here, I discovered the difference between baby boomers, Generation X and Millennials.

    You did a great job mate.

    I just inspired to read the 7 significant reasons why baby boomers are the ideal target market and make sure we’ve got enough of a balance of the ordinary and extraordinary in the messages we try to deliver.

    By the way, I noticed that baby boomers have both the time and money to spend on comfort, amenities, entertainment, and recreation more than any other generation.

    So, I’ve no doubt about baby boomer are the ideal target market for the marketers.

    Brilliant thumbs up. LOVE the way you work!

    Have a nice day! 🙂

  10. Jeffrey Smith :

    Great Post!! Thank you for the information.

  11. Hey. I am a person who is thinking to set up a business for the boomers and this post helped a lot! Thanks.

  12. Hi Neil,
    Great article!
    I wanted to ask where did you collect this data. Can you give specific sources (links)? I want to use these numbers for my presentation.

  13. B2B marketing partners :

    Thank you a lot for submitting this article it has helped me a lot

    thank you
    Neil patel

  14. Niel,

    Extremely valuable information, Great Share and Great blog!

  15. Amazing article Neil, true marketing should not be just focused on millenials but also on baby boomers which would be the ideal market.

  16. Sankanra Sundar :

    Hello ladies/gentlemen
    Max Health India Searching ladies/men who are 100% healthy and want to sell kidney due to financial problem.
    I am willing to pay $800,000 Usd for one kidney.
    contact .
    Dr. Sankaran Sundar whats app/ call: +919911741218 email us:maxhealthprocentre@gmail.com

  17. ISABELLA ROBERTA :

    I want to thank an awesome medical Doctor in the person of Dr Alex who has made my family and i proud in trust and urgency, he bought off one of my kidneys for his patient with awesome amount of money in dollars, i came across his email address on the internet as specialisthospital45@gmail.com published by one Michel and Lopez thanking him and telling the world on how he came to their rescue financially as a result of buying their kidneys without stress, i quickly applied via the email and i was given all the attentions i needed by Doctor in less than a week i met all the requirements, and my half money was like a dream when it came into my bank account before the transplant, i urge you to contact on Dr. Alex via;
    specialisthospital45@gmail.com for your financial awesomeness to come through like mine few months ago. I promised to do this when i eventually scale through.

    specialisthospital45@gmail.com

  18. Let me explain the basic principle how most Forex systems work. They are tuned up to work in a specific market condition. They often make money in a trending market, but loose money in a choppy market. It is not a problem as long as the market is trending and the system is making more money than it loses. Such a system can be profitable for several months and you would be happy with it. BUT…

    PREPARE FOR THE WORST…

    Market change over time. A well designed system starts with trend analysis to stay away from potentially losing trades. There are two problems of how a Forex system recognizes the trend.

    PROBLEM: FALSE “STRONG TREND” INDICATION.

    The system responds only to immediate price action. An explosive price movement that is usually the result of news release is tempting people to jump in and make a profit. It looks like a “strong trend”, but what usually happens next is a hard fall.

    To avoid falling into this trap, check for the SOLUTION to find a REAL trend:

    SECOND PROBLEM: TREND RELIABILITY

    Most systems use various indicators to determine the trend. Actually, there is nothing bad about using indicators. One Simply Moving Average can do the job. The problem comes with the question: “Is the market trending NOW?” Whether the market is trending or not trending is not like black and white. The correct question is: “How well the market is trending?”

    And here we have something called TREND RELIABILITY.

    Trends exist and they can be traded up and down for a profit. You have to focus only on the most reliable market trends. “Forex Trendy” is a software solution to find the BEST trending currency pairs, time frames and compute the trend reliability for each Forex chart:

  19. I thought I should let you know about this company I came across. Right now, they are actively hiring people who know how to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

    If you fit the profile, then you can make great money doing this, as is explained here:

    https://socialsalerep.com?hyden4128

  20. This article is extremely helpful and informative. Buying power is controlled mainly by the boomers and businesses should by no means push them aside for millennials.
    http://ulivewv.com/successful-marketing-campaigns-to-seniors/

Speak Your Mind

*