Marketing to Baby Boomers, What do Baby Boomers Spend the Most Money On, and How to get Them to Reach for their Wallets
As one of the largest groups of consumers ever, this generation is as diverse as it is large. Because the Baby boomer generation is such a big group of people it can be difficult to create ads targeting baby boomers. However, despite the difficulty Baby Boomers command such a huge amount of wealth that effective advertising for baby boomers is hugely important for businesses in today’s economy. They do however present a unique challenge in that they also do not like to be “categorized” as any one thing. This makes marketing to baby boomers more challenging than almost any other generation. It can also mean that many products that one may not traditionally categorize as being for “boomers” typically sell very well with them!
Baby Boomers are those individuals who were born between 1946 and 1963. This demographic of adults that are between the ages of 55-64 spend more than other consumer groups in almost every category including food, household furnishing, entertainment, personal care, gifts, and travel spending a combined $157 billion on trips and vacations every single year! Ads targeting Baby Boomers should reflect their diverse interested and appeal to their sense of values.
Even though they make up about $2.4 trillion in annual income, ads targeting baby boomers comprise only a very small percentage (10% ) of advertising! ( AARP). “Baby Boomers are a good market for travel, adventure vacations, expensive restaurant meals, second homes, recreational vehicles, maintenance-free homes, personal chefs, personal trainers, motorcycles, and financial advisers. Another interesting product area for Boomers is retro marketing and the marketing of music-based tourism and a musician’s hometown roots ”
Effective Advertising for Baby Boomers, Sales Techniques that Work for Marketing to Baby Boomers
Creating Ads targeting Baby Boomers
Because this generation was the largest of its time, it created a strong sense of competition among the boomers from a young age. Marketing strategies and Sales tactics that utilize “fear of loss” and having a limited but highly valuable quantity of something work well for sparking interest with this highly competitive generation that does not want to miss an opportunity. Baby Boomers also like things that are unique and resist being lumped into groups or categories even if it is with each other. A common theme among boomers is the ability to reinvent themselves and they place a high value on creativity. Use phrasing like ” Imagine if”, Create, or ” Believe” to appeal to their sense of possibility and what they can accomplish.
Studies have shown that much like other generations baby boomers have more trust in traditional forms of advertising like print, radio, and television than they do in online advertising and just like many of us can be distracted by crazy fonts and in your face graphics. Baby boomers and older generations are especially prone to being distracted and too much clutter can cause them to ignore as much as 50% of the ad!
Advertisers can capitalize on this by using traditional forms of advertising like newspaper and magazine this allows them to focus on the messaging and a call to action that pushes the baby boomers to purchase products on online or in stores. To accomplish this ad designs should include clean, non cluttered designs with easy to read fonts that are consistent across all forums of the the brand to improve the likelihood that they will be remembered and referred back to.
When marketing to baby boomers they like to be told that their contribution is unique and important. Recognizing their individualism is very powerful way to appeal to this group. Phrases like “You’re important to our success” , and “We need you” have been found to appeal to this generation. Because their interests are so diverse it can be hard to target them within a single ad or marketing campaign. They have diverse interests and hobbies. This means that niche or specialty publications are a great way to appeal to their unique interests to reach an ideal demographic.
When creating advertising campaigns directed at the Baby Boomer generation it is important to acknowledge that they are also very traditional in their high expectations of customer service and in-person interaction from salespeople. They appreciate options and choices, that are catered to them and make their life easier.
Present features and benefits to them in a way that allows them to understand how something will make their life easier and save them time anticipate that they will want this process to be easy as unlike younger generations they most likely will not want to take the time configuring their choices or set up and will want it done for them. This is especially true of technology where they may show resistance to any learning curve and will prefer something that is much more “intuitive.”
Consumer Categories that Baby Boomers Spend Money On
While it would be easy enough to just say that baby boomers spend money in every category and leave it be, here are a few categories that typically have the highest priority and how companies can increase their boomer marketing efforts and get more advertising engagement from their ads targeting baby boomers and advertising to individuals 50+.
Travel, Leisure Activities and Hobbies
Adults over 50 control about 70% of all disposable income in the United States and that number will continue to grow as they inherit more from their parents. Planning Vacations and Travel are high on the priority list of the baby boomer generation. AARP reports that 99% of baby boomers surveyed said they had or were planning to take vacations in 2015 and 2016. These plans don’t seem to be changing in the near future. Even with the rise in cost in airline travel Boomers did not seem to have much concern about budgeting for their vacations. Popular boomer destinations are both in the United States as well as international.
When surveyed ” 67% of Boomers plan to spend more time on their hobbies and interests. Their primary interests continue to be activities like shopping, traveling, entertaining and socializing. ” Baby Boomers also have more time and money to spend on Leisure activities and hobbies. Quite often those activities and past times that appealed to them when they were younger still appeal to them now.
Targeting Niche markets who are interested in Travel and even seemly obscure hobbies is easy with specialty magazines that appeal to this demographic. Readers of publications like American History have shown to be active travelers that are twice as likely than the general population to travel for special events, and more than eight times as likely to visit national parks. This group also has a median income of $101,973 and are avid readers, reading 5 or more books every 3 months.
Baby Boomers are a generation that defies the concept that they must age. They pride themselves on being forever young. Baby Boomers love things that are new and exciting. This “active and healthy” generation is looking to be adventurous and spends their time being involved with their family members and having fun enjoying themselves and experiencing new things. Marketing to this generation should reflect these values and their zest for life.
Many Boomers are investing their time and money into their health and well being just as much if not more so than they did in their younger years. Products beauty products like skincare and services like personal training are especially popular among this generation so that they can continue to live their best life as their best self.
Connecting to their family is Big for baby boomers. This is because they actively spend but also in some cases have their extended family living with them. Baby Boomers play active roles as grandparents as well as caregivers for their aging parents. Because they participate in the care of so many family members, they are often shopping for a broad range of life events. Anything from gifts for new babies to weddings and senior care is appealing items to important people in their lives.
For Boomers who have an “empty nest” often a four-legged child fills that space and treating them just like another member of the family with needs. Baby Boomers currently account for 45% of all pet spending which goes to pet foods, bedding and supplies, and veterinary care services.
Studies show that Baby Boomers spend more on home improvements and repairs annually compared to any other age group. Common home renovations among boomers vary anywhere from bathrooms and walk-in closets to more high-end additions like wine cellars and high-end chefs kitchens
Because Baby Boomers are such big consumers it makes sense that they would also big consumers of media also. Effective advertising for Baby Boomers includes all types of media but mainly those that are considered more traditional and trustworthy. A Gallup survey found 40 percent of Boomers said they were spending more on cable and satellite television than in previous years but had no intention of cutting off their cable. Boomers are also loyal readers and subscribers to their favorite publications reading more magazines and newspapers per month than any other generation. This creates a huge incentive for advertisers to want to be effective at marketing to Baby Boomers.