Twenty years ago, brands treated consumers like a captive audience. A dinner interrupted by cold calls, morning radio playing more ads than music, and piles of unsolicited mail finding its way into the mailbox are pretty familiar memories for Boomers. Back then, the rules of marketing were that there were no rules; advertisers have put profit before people since the Madison Avenue days. Until recently, when brands realized that if they wanted to stick around, they’d need to ditch the old playbook.
Humans have dramatically changed the way they shop and buy since the Boomer generation was the apple of every advertiser’s eye. Consumers today have grown up with digital tools at their fingertips that give them the power to mute interruptive marketing for good. Not surprisingly, marketing is finally starting to take a different form. Now, blogs and websites have replaced brochures and storefronts, and social media is key in connecting with your buyers. We call this new way of reaching your audience inbound marketing. At its core, inbound is about pulling people in with valuable online content and creating a personalized, helpful brand experience throughout the buying process.
But there’s a problem. Some brands are quick to assume that Boomers are immune to inbound marketing because they’re not digital natives. The reality is, this generation is becoming more and more present online; according to Google, 83% of Boomers use the internet to find information before any other medium. Sounds pretty savvy to me. With people over the age of 50 controlling 70% of disposable income in the United States, marketers should be thinking about how they can deliver a meaningful experience to Boomer buyers online.
- Here are a few things for marketers to think about:
People joke that older generations hardly know how to text, let alone use a smartphone. Turns out, the joke’s on them; Boomers aren’t just connecting with their family and friends on mobile, but with brands. Forty-nine percent of people over the age of 45 have made a purchase on their smartphone and even more use mobile devices to gather information about a product or company. Marketers today need to prioritize optimizing their site for mobile in order to leave a valuable impression.
Social platforms may be flooded with memes, viral videos, and Jennifer Lawrence, but that doesn’t mean Millennials are the only people online. In the past four years, the number of Boomers using social media has tripled to 43%, according to Pew Research Center. The great thing about social media marketing is that you can segment your efforts; for example, Boomers spend most of their time on Facebook compared to other networks. Focus on customizing your social media content based on where Boomers are spending time.
Don’t Forget Video
Video content is an effective inbound marketing tool today. Especially when it comes to reaching the Boomer generation. Over 50% of Boomers view and share videos online, with YouTube being the most popular platform. Posting video clips about your products, company, or just for fun is an engaging way to start a dialogue and share information. Whether you use an iPhone or a professional videographer, make sure you’re creating videos that are relevant and interesting to your 50 and over audience.
All too often marketers overlook the Boomer generation and set their sights on younger, digitally fluent buyers. This not only neglects a valuable audience, but the growth of your business. Instead, develop an inbound marketing strategy that keeps Boomers’ tech savvy in mind to connect with this generation in a meaningful way.
This wonderful article was used here with thanks to MediaPost Communications and Mike Volpe who wrote this for the Engage: Boomers blog. I highly recommend MediaPost to my readers as it is a source of good journalism and inspiration.