// 20 November 2019

Boom Babies

Understanding The Misunderstood Generation

Over the last few years, advertisers have spent a considerable amount of time rushing to woo millennial consumers, leaving their older counterparts feeling overlooked, misunderstood or alienated. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Hitachi Consulting, “almost three-quarters (74%) of brands are increasingly focusing their services on 19-38-year-olds, in a bid to capitalise on mobile and digital spending, as well as capturing the long-term loyalty of the next-generation of shoppers”. However, the misconception of the baby boomer market and its power is what’s costing brands big time.

Today, the sheer size and power of the Baby Boomer cohort, born between 1946 and 1964, is impressive. They will help to double the number of people over 60 to 2 billion by 2050, according to data from the Milken Institute. By the end of this decade, annual global consumer spending by those aged 60 and over will reach $US15 trillion.

The over 50s market in Australia constitutes 27 per cent of the population, have 50 per cent of Australia’s private wealth, and hold the purse to 46 per cent of disposable income according to social researcher Mark McCrindle. Together with the fact they represent over a quarter of all Australians, this generation presents a unique opportunity for content marketers.

However unfortunately, ageing is poorly understood, particularly by brands and marketers who largely ignore or misfire with this audience. Ageing is a pejorative and older people are rarely seen as ideal consumers. The fallacy is that they can’t understand tech. They’re not cool. They’re frail. Dull. Sick. They’ve retired from work and shut the door on meaningful life. They have no aspirations. They’re boring, unattractive and irrelevant. None of which is true!

According to a recent article published by the AFR on over 50’s marketing, a recent study found that 69 per cent of respondents said that age has never been less relevant, 78 per cent felt much younger than their age, and almost two-thirds (61 per cent) say they’re living the best years of their life.

And let’s be frank, Boomers have seen it all. They came of age in the 1960s and 70s and have lived through several periods of dramatic political, social and economic upheaval including the Vietnam War, the moon landing, the advent of TV, and the counter-culture revolution. In Australia, they also enjoyed free tertiary education and (comparatively) affordable housing. As such, they are regarded by many as the privileged generation that is to blame for the hurdles of Gens X and Y. They are financially secure, have a high rate of home ownership and are blessed with higher annual income than the national average.

And….far from being technophobes, they spend $40 billion more than Millennials and Gen X each year buying products online.

So how do brands keep getting it wrong?

The overarching theme appears to be patronisation. Firstly, there is very little advertising directed at over 50s and what’s out there, usually speaks to the generation in stereotypes eg. they are “canny”, their ideal holiday is a river cruise, or they are fabulous people for one -being a bit active; Or two – not leaving their funeral to their kids.

As experts in generational marketing, Traffic have discovered some key factors about how to market to baby boomers that have helped attract the attention of the target market.

Baby boomers are abundant, affluent and more tech-savvy than you might think. They’ve worked hard all their lives for all they have. They’re healthier and more active than their parents were at the same age, and they’re all about themselves.

Furthermore, it’s important to unravel the major myth out there which is that Baby Boomers are social media challenged. While the younger generations may well be earlier adopters of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, the fastest growing segment on all social channels is 50 plus.

So, in order to effectively reach and engage this market, it’s important to remember these five things:

  1. Baby boomers are a big audience.

Baby boomers make up one of the largest sectors of consumers, so every marketer should be paying attention to effective marketing strategies for baby boomers.

  1. Baby boomers are an affluent generation.

Employers who seek hard-working candidates will still find them among the baby boomer generation. Baby boomers hold a strong reputation for being diligent, hard workers who have saved and spent wisely.

  1. Baby boomers are more tech-savvy than you think.

Baby boomers remember the introduction of the first black-and-white and colour televisions. It’s important for marketers targeting this generation to remember that baby boomers have grown up with technology over recent decades. They’re more accustomed to technology than you might think, and they use it in different ways than millennials.

The baby boomer generation spends as much time online as they do watching television. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that 96% of baby boomers use search engines, 95% use email, and 92% shop for products and services online rather than shopping in stores and shopping malls.

About 60% of baby boomers spend time reading blogs and online articles as a source of information and intrigue, and about 70% enjoy watching videos about products and services.

If you’re looking to market via social media platforms, you’ll find an active audience of baby boomers on Facebook, where they’re happy to post news and photos of their grandchildren and latest vacations.

  1. Baby boomers are the “me generation.”

Baby boomers are considered the “me generation” for their self-centred, individualistic attitudes. In marketing to people in this demographic, at Traffic we know that the over 50’s want to enjoy their independence as much as possible, EVEN if you are marketing home care or disability services.  Independence and maintaining their dignity is extremely important to them.

  1. Baby boomers are healthy and active.

A large majority of baby boomers are in the pre-retirement stage of life. They are still working full- or part-time and looking forward to life as empty-nesters. They are working hard to pay off mortgages and other debts and maximise their returns on investments. It’s prudent to pay attention to these baby boomers’ characteristics in marketing. They’re looking for brands that are reliable, trustworthy and competitive in terms of cost.

Baby boomers have also been more health-conscious than their own parents, and medical innovations makes it possible for them to live healthier and longer. Unlike their parents, who desired to relax during retirement, the baby boomer generation wants to get out and do all the things they’ve always dreamed of doing.

Because of the size of the baby boomer population, nearly every industry has an audience in this marketing sector. When marketing to baby boomers, it’s important to understand who they are, where they come from, and where they hope to be in the future when getting their attention for your business.

And finally, and probably the most important point… Never use the E (elderly) word. They may be an aging population, but they are not ready to hang up their hats just yet!

To view some of Traffic’s recent work in this sector or to find out more about how we can help your brand, click on the case studies below:

Enrich Living Services




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