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Generational marketing: How to connect with Baby Boomers

min. read

Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y, Z, Alpha.

We hear these terms all around, but often we aren't entirely sure which generation is which, let alone how real people behind these infamous one-letter generations think, behave, and communicate.  

Segmenting and targeting your markets by age rather than other demographics such as gender, location, or income is called generational marketing. By understanding their underlying generational motivations, challenges, and habits, you can tailor your corporate strategy, products and content accordingly so it "speaks" to a specific generation.  

Every consumer segmentation is an extensive task for the marketing department. On top of many methods and possible sub-groups, COVID has just made segmentation more complicated. It impacted every consumer generation, but with the right knowledge, you can customize your marketing efforts to ensure you're capturing the attention and hitting the right chord of the generation in focus, whether it's Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen Z, or Alpha.  

To help you gain relevant knowledge of generational marketing, we'll describe and analyze four key generations that are active consumers at this point:  

  1. Baby Boomers 
  2. Generation X 
  3. Generation Y (Millennials) 
  4. Generation Z  

We're opening the series on generational segmentation with the Golden Generation, so-called Baby Boomers, individuals who were born between 1946 to 1964. 

What you need to know about marketing to baby boomers

Characteristics: Baby Boomers, or Golden Generation, grew up in a post-war time of economic growth. Given their age and time in the workforce, they have the most purchasing power and discretionary income. Combined with the societal changes at the time, this generation was raised feeling that anything was achievable. Baby Boomers have lived much of their lives without modern technology but have embraced it with social media, mobile devices and online shopping. They are motivated by good deals and can be loyal to the brands they buy.

Digital savviness: The Baby Boomer generation grew up and worked most of their lives without the internet and digital technology. But this doesn't mean they're not open to it. Most people in this age group are embracing opportunities that modern technology provides, often learning from their children and younger peers.  

Financial status: Baby Boomers have the largest spending power of any generation. They are more likely to spend their money on hobbies and luxury items. However, due to the recent economic downturn, they are now more careful with their money and often look for the best deals and promotions. Although Baby Boomers will be over 65 years old in 2030, many are planning to continue working past their retirement. This means their purchasing power won't slow down significantly for another decade.  

Most responsive to: Traditional marketing is the norm for this group because they watch more television than younger generations. They use social media less than younger generations, but they are most likely to be on Facebook than on newer platforms. They rely on customer service (usually via phone calls) and prefer straightforward, easy-to-understand content. High-quality products are their preferred options, so communicate durable items.  

Strategies to help you appeal to Boomer consumers:

  • Think of ways to promote your goods or services via traditional channels, like TV and radio.
  • Apply loyalty programs that drive in-store purchases and in-person interactions.
  • Keep things practical and accessible (simple design, large fonts, etc.). Avoid using slang that might make them feel outdated.
  • Remind Baby Boomers of the "good old" times that shaped their values. One of the ways to do this is through musical or visual cues, historical or cultural references or playing with stereotypes.

Coming up: Insights on other generations

As we continue our generational marketing series, we'll discuss other generations in the following weeks.

We'd like to emphasize that, like everything in marketing, it's all about the context. Each generation is different, and their mindset defines who they are as individuals and consumers. Some groups respond well to technology and innovation. Others prefer their comfort zone with products and services they desire to remain the same. Whatever the strategy, brands should focus on a similar approach. For example, honesty and integrity are essential aspects that consumers from all generations look for from brands. Being straightforward with messaging and offers results in a stronger relationship with the market.

In any case, a generational marketing strategy should not be a company's sole approach to segmenting an audience. At boobook, we believe in a segmentation approach beyond customers' age and the associated - somewhat stigmatizing - generational stamp. Additional customer segmentation factors, such as geography, income, interests, behaviours, personal values, attitudes, etc., are crucial to successful persona-based targeting. Marketing to different generations requires thoughtful implementation, so avoid stereotypes and assumptions about certain ages.  

Instead, learn who your customers are and develop products and communication strategies that resonate with your audience. Reach out to our team, and we'll help you!  

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