How to Market to Baby Boomers

We were inspired by a Brand Junkies conversation about different generations in the workplace to take a deep dive into how the generations interact in the marketplace. (We are a digital advertising agency after all.) Ever wonder how to effectively market to Baby Boomers, Gen X, or Millenials? We’re embarking on a blog series to not only help you understand how to approach generational marketing effectively but to bring clarity about why each generation responds as it does to digital advertising. 


The “Me” Generation


We’ll be kicking things off with the “Me” generation, the Baby Boomers (anyone born between 1946-1964)! With the greatest amount of disposable income of all the generations and the least likelihood of purchasing online, this is a demographic that many digital marketers struggle to capture. 


The majority of Baby Boomers are already enjoying or will shortly enter retirement. This is an age group on the cusp of the phase of life most centered around leisure, and they spend the most money on each shopping trip of any generation. Surprisingly, Boomers even spend the most on technology and are far more likely to splurge on items to get the premium version or latest model.


84% of Boomers prefer to shop and make purchases in-store as opposed to online, likely because of their exceedingly high value for customer service. This study found that Boomers were the most likely consumers to abandon a purchase or an entire company after an unpleasant customer experience. 


These consumers are also the most likely demographic to be accessing the internet on desktop as opposed to mobile devices. They use social media to revive old friendships and they regularly communicate via email.  


How do I use this information to market to Baby Boomers?


  • Take Advantage of Brand Loyalty: Only 37% of Baby Boomers say they are likely to browse for new products. These consumers have been there, done that, and figured out what they like. If you are targeting them with new products or services, aim to prove that your product is of great quality and will continue to be necessary long into the future. 
  • Zoom Out: This is the generation least likely to be influenced by social media or by their peers for their purchasing decisions. Boomers are twice as likely as their younger counterparts to report that their interest was sparked by the reported popularity of a brand when they’re purchasing a new or unfamiliar product. Brands with bold, consistent omnichannel engagement will likely fare better among the Boomers because of their implied popularity.   
  • Create an Experience: This generation HIGHLY values personal interaction and customer service. Less than a third of Boomers say that they find shopping relaxing, so gear your messaging towards clear communication and putting their purchasing doubts at ease. When possible, offer multiple purchasing avenues for convenience (in person, online, over the phone, etc.). Incorporate clienteling apps and user-friendly web store features to digitally engage Boomer consumers. 
  • Push Quality, Not Discounts: Nobody wants to be drinking $7 wine in their 60s. This generation is entering retirement and has the disposable funds to make sure they enjoy it. Skip the discounts and push value propositions instead. Run Facebook Ads and other social media ads that have clear, value-oriented messaging as opposed to the clever sarcasm that plays well with Millenials. 


Currently, marketers only focus about 10% of their efforts marketing to Baby Boomers. This is totally out of balance with the fact that Baby Boomers spending is projected to grow to a THIRD of aggregate spending by 2025 (as opposed to younger consumers set to decrease their spending over the next 10 years). Capturing the attention of this demographic will create a loyal audience projected to spend more and more in the next decade… that sounds like a win/win to us. 
Join us next week where we’ll take a look at Gen X as consumers! In the meantime, if you need help gearing your marketing to reach Baby Boomers or another specific age bracket, we’re here to help. Feel free to drop us a line.