Using TV and Internet to Tap into the Baby Boomer Market
By Peter Koeppel
past, advertisers have focused on reaching consumers in the 18-49
age range. Today, that may be changing. As more and more companies
are realizing the buying power that the Baby Boomer generation
possesses, marketers are shifting their ad dollars and campaigns to
reach this powerful market segment.
Boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—comprise a market of 76
million people. And unlike the younger generations who are saving to
buy houses and cars and struggling to raise a family, Boomers have a
fat wallet of disposable income (some experts have approximated that
Boomers have nearly a trillion dollars of spending power). Knowing
this, no company can ignore the sheer size of the market, nor the
wealth or voice that they have. That’s why smart marketers are
rethinking their ad campaigns and targeting this profitable niche.
what’s the best way to reach this market? TV and Internet, for sure.
While television is still the most effective medium for reaching
Boomers, the online options are growing fast. Following are some
guidelines for using each effectively.
TV Generation: Boomers were the first generation to grow up with
TV, so it makes sense that they still prefer this medium as they
age. In fact, on average, Boomers watch 22 minutes more TV per day
than younger people, according to Nielsen Media Research. And since
TV viewership increases with age, as the Boomers mature, their TV
viewing time will continue to rise. What does this mean for
Focus on the right
type of programming. Boomers tend to watch programs that
center around life stages. For older Boomers, shows like CSI
and Dancing with the Stars are favorites. Older Boomers
also prefer news programs and are less interested in reality TV.
For younger Boomers, shows like Grey’s Anatomy and
Desperate Housewives are popular. Additionally, science
fiction programming is popular with all Boomers, perhaps because
this generation watched so much of the genre while growing up.
Therefore, if you want your TV ads to reach Boomers in the most
cost efficient manner, you have to place them during the shows
that Boomers watch.
multi-task. While younger TV viewers are likely to be online
while watching TV and may even interact with the program via
online voting, text messaging or chat rooms, don’t count on that
with Boomers. They tend to focus on one media at a time. For
advertisers, that means Boomers won’t likely type in your
displayed web address while watching your commercial spot.
Rather, they’ll pick up the phone and call the toll free number
you display or go to your website after they finish watching a
identify with your ads. Since Boomers are not in their 20s
and 30s anymore, make sure your ads reflect the needs, wants,
and images of older Americans. A 20-year-old perfectly
airbrushed model touting an anti-wrinkle cream won’t speak to
the Boomer market. Go for more mature spokespersons and really
do your homework to determine how your product or service helps
Boomers. The big categories or “hot buttons” for boomers are
security, longevity, money management, wealth transfer, lowering
their bills, and travel.
Internet – You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks: The big
misconception in online marketing is that you can’t reach Boomers
via the Internet. In fact, Baby Boomers make up one-third of the 195
million web users in the United States, according to JupiterResearch.
Additionally, ad buyers targeted Boomers with close to 5 billion
dollars in ads in 2004, out of 13 billion spent in web advertising.
So don’t think that Boomers aren’t online and that they reject
technology. Nothing could be further from the truth.
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, over half
(54%) of 60-69 year-olds go online, and 72% of 51-59 year-olds surf
the net. Further, studies show that Boomers spend more money online
that the average web user, yet they’re still the most underserved
audience on the net. Therefore, if you want to serve this
demographic, consider the following.
Create a network.
Boomers crave social networks. Sites like FaceBook.com and
MySpace.com target younger people, and LinkedIn.com focuses on
business professionals. While Boomers do participate in such
online social networks, they usually discover that these sites
have little to offer them. If you want Boomers to be a regular
visitor to your site, offer them a place where they can connect
with each other and explore topics of interest to them. It may
be helpful for you to check out a new site, TeeBeeDee, tbd.com,
which is specifically designed for Boomers and is positioned as
a Facebook for Boomers.
Offer the right
information. Boomers are most interested in such topics as
alternative health, entertainment, finance, health, hearth and
home, hobbies and fitness, and travel. Boomers are frequent and
engaged online users, so make sure your site has the kind of
information they are most interested in. This generation is also
going through a life stage filled with lots of tough issues,
including retirement, investment planning, and healthcare. If
your product or service can help Boomers better plan for these
life transitions, then you need to prominently state so on your
site and offer lots of information on the topic.
Go easy on the
multi-media effects. Boomers don’t want a web page to be
overwhelming. Therefore, limit how much “stuff” you have going
on the screen. Remember, Boomers don’t like to multi-task, so
don’t try to pull their attention away from the core information
they came to your site for.
Profit Boom: Once you effectively target the Baby Boomer
demographic, your sales will increase. The key is to understand what
this group wants and how they use and view the different advertising
mediums. So take a look at your current TV and online campaigns and
make sure they address the needs and concerns of the Boomer market.
Revamp your marketing messages and placements as needed so you can
cash in on the nearly trillion dollars of spending power this group
has. When you do, you’ll have tapped into a large and profitable
niche that can quickly boost your company’s profits to new levels of
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