Digital marketing: Are you reaching the boomer generation?
Thursday, May 04, 2017
Our inboxes are constantly filled with ways to adjust digital marketing tactics to meet the demands of millennials and Generation Zers, but there's one generation with just as strong spending power that's often left out of the mix: baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964.
At first glance, it may seem like using direct mailers is a more optimal method for targeting boomers, but according to a recent KPMG report, baby boomers spend more per transaction than any other generation in online spending. Add in the fact that boomers still account for 22.9 percent of the U.S. population (compared to millennials' 26 percent) and control over 70 percent of disposable income, this is one group your digital marketing should be targeting.
But how you approach boomers in the digital arena isn't a matter of pushing existing marketing campaigns onto their screens. Just like their generational counterparts, there are nuances to the boomer population that should be considered.
To ensure that your digital marketing efforts also reach the boomer generation, consider these four suggestions.
1. Local search rankings
When considering a purchase, baby boomers start their research online in search of reviews and product information. The top two channels they use to get information are search engines and company websites, so an online presence is non-negotiable.
Businesses need to make sure the correct keywords are being used to guarantee they rank in local SEO. Online reviews also impact a brand's search rankings, so designate space on your website where customers can leave reviews. For brands with reviews on popular review sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, eBay), those reviews can be easily embedded onto websites.
2. Social media
While boomers tend to avoid the newer social media networks like Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat, they flock to Facebook, where they spend an average of 11 hours a week. Boomers frequently share images and video on Facebook, so placing ads on this network is a must.
Boomers also go to Facebook to read online reviews. However, unlike the review sites listed above, Facebook doesn't provide an easy way to embed its reviews on websites. Each review will either have to be individually embedded, or a third-party app can be used to gather and post the reviews.
The world's second-largest search engine, YouTube, is also a boomer favorite. On a Quora forum, when asked what boomers watched on YouTube, responses varied from cute and fun to how-to videos, one of which included a notable response:
"My godfather whom is 54 years old never understood the reasoning for watching YouTube actively like millennials often do. That is, not until he bought a sailboat. He recently asked me how to navigate it to search for tips on how to repair certain parts of the boat. Not only does he watch DIY videos for sailboats, but he's made an account and watched weekly vlogs from numerous youtubers who sail around the world."
3. Email marketing
A December 2016 eMarketer survey found that smartphone ownership among boomers growing. And the highest activity performed on a smartphone is checking or receiving IMs or emails.
Seventy-five percent of boomers are more likely to make a purchase if given a coupon or discount, so consider offering some sort of promotion in your email campaign. Impulse buying is more common among millennials, so keep "time urgency" strategies to a minimum as boomers reportedly don't respond well to them.
On the plus side, email marketing is a great way to disseminate content commonly consumed by boomers: e-books and blog articles.
Boomers spend more time consuming content than any other generation, so while marketers might not be limited to a specific word count, the type of content directed toward this generation is important.
The latest internet slang might make your brand look cool AF to younger generations, but this is one trend to stay clear of when targeting boomers. They came of age at a different time, so using hashtags, memes and words like "bae," "lit" and "GOAT" might cause brands to alienate themselves from boomers. Even seemingly harmless words like GPS should be avoided.
The boomer generation continues to be an enormous spending force, and marketers who exclude them from their digital marketing mix risk missed opportunities in developing relationships with boomers — and more importantly, missed revenue.
When adding boomers to your digital marketing mix, the key is to know who they are, what they value and where they are when their screens are on. Once you do, you'll be well on your way to a piece of that boomer pie.
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