Trying to reach Baby Boomers online? Here are some content tips.
Published on 5/3/2016
Lots of attention and resources are given to winning the love of Millennials—the demographic is huge, wields enormous spending power, and will be spending for the next 60 years or so. Discovering what drives them to reach for there is Touchpay valuable knowledge indeed. Yet, in the furor to master Snapchat and Instagram and whatever apps will replace them as next year’s hot ticket, marketers might be neglecting an entire segment, and with it the more traditional methods of communication that serves it.
We’re talking about boomers: the 75.4 million or so adults who have and spend the most money. By 2013, in fact, Boomers accounted for 35% of all discretionary spending. And as they age out and retire, the likelihood is that they’ll spend even more money on things that interest them and provide enjoyment—things like hobbies and travel.
First, let’s understand what Boomers are looking at, and how. Social Times showed that this segment consumes online media on their laptops or desktops rather than their mobile devices—less than 15 percent are connected primarily through their phones. Their peak consumption time is in the am, before lunch. And what they’re consuming might surprise you—Boomers are more interested in world politics than any other demographic is, and they hit the local news and business beats pretty hard, too. More surprising: Boomers make up the largest age group of Facebook users. Though they’re not early adopters, they’re not technology-averse, especially when it comes to staying connected with what’s important to them.
Boomers make up the largest age group of Facebook users; they’re not technology-averse.
How can these insights inform a content strategy tailored to Boomers?
1) This demographic adopts after a company, product, or idea has been thoroughly vetted and approved by the marketplace. When targeting this demographic, showcase positive reviews and testimonials, and highlight recommendations, likes, and shares on social networks Facebook.
2) Provide deep content for these deep researchers. Boomers do a lot of digging for information before they make purchases, so make sure that your content as a whole answers any questions and overcomes any concerns that may be acting as barriers. Link from story to story to make content discovery easy.
3) Provide something valuable for free. It doesn’t have to be a physical product or a free service—practical tips from a professional (say, investment advice for the coming year) or easy reference sheets (how to resize photos for sharing, for example) are the types of offerings that bring repeat visitors and bring salience to a brand.
4) Tailor communications and offerings for milestones. For example, how does retirement affect credit and large purchases? Often, people don’t really know the answers to these questions, and so they avoid buying because they think the experience might be uncomfortable. Get out ahead of customer concerns and give them the information they’re really looking for. They’ll be better prepared, and your brand will be remembered for the valuable practical advice. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that retirement is all worry, though—other milestones include the births of grandchildren, graduations, and big anniversaries, to name just a few. Loyalty programs for frequent travelers, gift ideas, and special occasions purchases are all big opportunities with this demographic.
5) Keep it short and sweet, or break up your story into small portions. The Social Times article referenced above also showed that articles ~300 words were the most-read by Boomers.
Just as Millennials hate to be pegged as a shallow, dependent group, Boomers chafe at being called close-minded and oblivious. So above all, remember that Baby Boomers see their futures as bright, and filled with countless opportunities to explore and participate in a connected world.
Growing with, and adapting to, the needs and desires of Boomers have served willing brands well, since Boomers are notoriously loyal to brands—especially products—that they know and trust. Millennials will one day replace Boomers in size and spending power, and right now there is a massive opportunity for brands to connect with this consumer group and nurture their relationship over the next sixty years.