What is the best way to reach baby boomers with marketing campaigns? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
The failure to reach Baby Boomers as consumers is one of the biggest gaping holes businesses face today. It’s costing them billions of dollars every year.
Baby Boomers, which the U.S. Census defines as people born between 1946 and 1964, are the wealthiest demographic. They’re also the biggest spenders. But many businesses are largely ignoring them in marketing campaigns.
Only an estimated 5 to 10% of marketing dollars are currently being spent on reaching this demographic. So brands are barely going after the estimated $548 billion that Boomers spend in a single year — far bigger than the estimated $357 billion for Gen X and $323 billion for Millennials, according to a report from Epsilon.
How best to reach them? First, business should hire — and hold onto — marketers who are a part of the demographic.
Ageism plagues the marketing and advertising industries. “Not easy to get a job past 40,” read a recent headline about ad agencies. By one count, the average age of marketing and sales managers in the United States is 42, and employees who do much of the front-line work generally skew younger. In the UK, agencies that are members of the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) have an average employee age of just 33.7, and only 5% of the industry is over age 50, Campaign Live reported.
To reach any demographic, businesses need people who understand that demographic. As long as marketing teams — whether inside the company or at external agencies these businesses hire — see people over 50 as being like their grandparents, they won’t know how to reach them as consumers.
Tap into the second coming of age
Being a part of this demographic myself (though on the younger side) and focusing on it with my agency Flipside, I’ve come to see that many Baby Boomers are entering a fantastic time of their lives.
They have more resources, experience and time to do what they wish. They become much less concerned about what others think they should do. Instead, they’re focused on what’s right for them. It’s a period of self-actualization and discovery. I’ve seen numerous people take on new careers and projects, the kinds of things they’ve long dreamed of doing.
This spirit translates into their decisions as consumers as well. Many Baby Boomers are ready to treat themselves to some of the finer things in life. They’re willing to gravitate toward products, services and experiences that they had previously put off.
This is part of what makes them so much more reachable than marketers realize. The generations that comprise the 50-plus crowd are looking to spend on the brands that speak most to this second coming of age.
Tell their stories
Currently, marketing campaigns that highlight people age 50 and up are the exceptions, not the rule. This must change. People respond when they “see themselves” — that is, people they personally relate to — in marketing.
Build campaigns around characters and personalities who are celebrating this time of their lives. Tell stories that show this time of life is not about wistfully looking back. Rather, it’s the start of a whole new adventure.
Reach across platforms
Americans in these older generations are not the Internet buffoons they’ve so often been made out to be.
A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that “older generations also embrace digital life.” In fact, “there has been significant growth in tech adoption since 2012 among older generations – particularly Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.” About 60% of Baby Boomers are using social media, and that figure has been climbing.
So in designing marketing campaigns to reach this largely untapped demographic, keep in mind that it does not mean just running TV ads during old reruns of Matlock. It means going where these consumers are to deliver messages and ideas that show you respect and understand them, and want to win them over.
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