There’s tremendous logic in advertising to Baby Boomers in the US: they control by far the largest share of discretionary spending of any generation, and they are heavily reliant on advertising as a product information source.
Yet only a small portion of advertising dollars are targeted to them, with many Americans complaining that advertisers fail to cater to aging consumers. Marketers must also overcome obstacles, such as Baby Boomers’ skepticism about advertisers’ trustworthiness.
A report released in late 2012 by Nielsen and BoomAgers estimated that less than 5% of advertising dollars are targeted to adults aged 35-64. In other words, an even smaller portion of advertising dollars are aimed at Baby Boomers – and many Americans indeed note that advertising fails to cater to aging consumers.
Despite some Boomers’ use of smartphones for shopping – which is mostly limited to search (66%) rather than applications (4%) – they estimate making 74% of their local purchases in-store. That compares to an average of 56% among the 18-34 bracket.
Points to Remember When Marketing to Boomers
- Boomers are at a time in life when they really don’t want to compromise their authenticity.
- For Boomers, process is at least as important as the end result. They want “the ride.”
- Boomers like to inspire others. Help them feel helpful.
- Boomers have been around long enough to know there are few absolutes, little is black or white.
- Accentuate personal style over rote action or blind ritual.
- Boomers are oriented to the human dimension, that’s the only real thing. They can see the humor in most situations.
- What Boomers really dislike is felling put upon by arbitrary power, feeling trapped, conned, boxed-in, and being thought of as one of the masses.
- Boomers are both creative and conservative (“A beautiful garden is wild and tended”).
- Boomers go for what gives voice to things they are thinking and feeling, but haven’t fully worked out yet.
- Boomers respond to what stands out by its presence, not its loudness; and what shows them it really listens and, therefore, understands.
In its recent list of Top 10 Consumer Trends for 2010, trendwatching.com identified several trends that closely match with Boomer trends. These include a need for companies to be transparent and honest about their efforts to conduct environmentally sustainable business practices and genuinely collaborate with their customers rather than try to dictate to them. In addition, consumers are increasingly using social networks as part of everyday life and respond well to products and services which have a charitable component.