Because digital is the wave of the future, it’s easy to assume that older consumers don’t understand it, let alone use it. Humorous tropes about the older generation include tapping their children and grandchildren for technological help, even in marketing. But is that really how they’re engaging with technology now? It’s an answer you need to know, especially when Baby Boomer spending power is predicted to be around $15 trillion worldwide by 2019, and at the end of 2015 alone, 70% of the disposable income in the U.S. was in the hands of Boomers.
Understanding generational marketing is key to an omni-channel strategy, and reaching Baby Boomers may just include the tactics you’ve relegated to younger generations over the last couple of decades. In today’s post, we’ll discuss why marketing to Baby Boomers needs to include digital.
How Baby Boomers Use Digital
Believe it or not, the Baby Boomer generation spends more time online than any other individual age group. An average of 35% of Boomers spend 19 or more hours online each day, a number that jumps to 51% at 15 or more hours online, versus 41% of Millennials. Boomers also spend most or all of their online time consuming content. The top four types of content Boomers will consume are also critical formats for digital outreach: blogs, images, eBooks, and peer reviews. A third of Boomers also do most of their pre-purchase research and shop online, too, generating $7 billion in ecommerce.
Why Mobile is Important for Boomers
According to Google, almost 40% of Baby Boomers own a smartphone or tablet. As a matter of fact, estimates peg users aged 50 or older as 33% of all tablet owners (including 23% of all iPads). While they do so to lesser extents than other generations, a reasonable portion use their devices to multi-task, with 23% browsing the web on their device while watching TV and another 24% reading their email. Their activities on mobile devices also directly contribute to their purchasing behavior. Among Boomers, 40% of smartphone users and 49% of tablet users made purchases after doing searches from their devices.
Facebook Is Key
Baby Boomers make up 27 million of the social media users that are found online (that’s 82% of Boomers), and of those, more than 70% are on Facebook. In fact, a small, but significant, portion of those Boomer users (just over 15%) will spend 11 hours or more on the network. These social media habits represent about half of all their online content consumption and has resulted in a 83% explosion in growth among Boomers in just the last three years. When it comes to having their purchase decisions influenced by online content, Boomers are no different than other any other generation.
How Baby Boomers Buy
While TV remains the most effective method of reaching Boomers, email marketing and SEM (search engine marketing) tie for the next most effective method. According to some experts, email marketing may be the most effective form of direct marketing to seniors, and this is certainly true in terms of digital ROI. Emails offering advance deals or special coupons will definitely generate engagement with this segment.
Meanwhile SEM is critical to the Boomer’s purchase process. Even though social media plays a large role in different aspects of the purchase decision process, generally, search engines (dominated by Google) play a 30% larger role. Just take a glimpse at a few of the statistics about what actions SEM led Boomers to take:
- Look for even more information online: 82.4%
- Think more favorably about a topic: 41.6%
- Visit company website: 77.5%
- Visit physical store location: 63.1%
- Make a purchase: 65%
Hopefully, these insights will help you to better understand the different, yet concurrent ways that you could be reaching Baby Boomers through digital marketing. By understanding generational marketing in a truly omni-channel context, you’ll see your overall engagement improve and enjoy a lift of your bottom line.
Use Digital to Reach Boomers
These insights should help you to develop a better strategy for marketing to Baby Boomers through digital. Start by auditing your current digital strategies for this generation segment.
- Is there a generational bias in your digital outreach?
- Does any of the information above highlight tactics you can add or change? Which steps can be altered now and which will take time to enact?
- Targeting and personalization are important to reaching any segment. Review your digital creative to ensure you have copy for reaching seniors and Baby Boomers successfully.
- Keep best practices in mind that click with this segment, like avoiding acronyms.
- Don’t fall into generational stereotypes. For example, just because Boomers lived most of their lives without 140 character limits, many assume they prefer longer copy. Like other generations, Boomers prefer 300 words.
- Facebook offers a complete suite of tools for targeting and native outreach through the platform. Are you using it to its fullest?
Valpak offers targeted marketing solutions to help you reach various segments of your audience. Reach out to your local Valpak representative today.