DEMOGRAPHICS SERIES: ENGAGING THE ‘ME GENERATION’

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at how brands can engage the Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X demographics, offering our advice on how best to develop relationships with each group specifically.

For our penultimate post in the series we’re going to examine the requirements of perhaps the most affluent demographic, the baby boomer generation. Born between 1946 and 1964, the generation accounts for a sixth of the UK population, and as well as having the most disposable income of any demographic, it has some of the highest expectations for what it gets in return for its money. In fact, this sense of entitlement has given baby boomers the title of the ‘me generation’ in many instances.

As such, brands simply can’t afford to get their engagement strategies wrong when it comes to the baby boomers. Read on for our top tips on developing relationships with this generation.
 

1. Banish your preconceptions

One of the common mistakes that brands make when it comes to baby boomers is that they allow pre-conceptions to cloud their judgement. For instance, they view – and too often treat – the demographic as old, when the audience does not perceive itself as old. This is not only alienating to the demographic but also causes a series of knock-on assumptions about baby boomers that are inherently wrong.

Offender in chief amongst these assumptions is that baby boomers are not comfortable users of the internet and technology. In fact, baby boomers spend, on average, 27 hours online per week, with 65% owning a desktop PC, 49% owning a laptop and a further 57% using a tablet and 40% owning a smartphone, highlighting that this is a generation that embraces technology.

However, while mobile ownership is increasing in the demographic, it’s clear to see that baby boomers prefer desktop to mobile devices. Indeed, while 25% of baby boomers do use smartphones to make a purchase, this increases to 31% when it comes to a desktop device. Therefore, when trying to engage this key demographic, it is critical that, in their haste to adopt mobile first strategies, brands don’t neglect desktop as a key marketing channel. To really connect and engage with baby boomers it is essential that websites and online services are easy to use on desktop devices.
 

2. Cater for lengthy nurturing cycles

Unlike some demographics that might be more inclined to make spontaneous or impulsive purchases, baby boomers are far more prone to making considered purchases, taking longer to filter through the buying funnel and stopping at nothing to find the best deal possible.

Generally speaking, they like to thoroughly research any product or service they are buying – and in detail – before making the decision to purchase. What’s more, they are willing to draw that information from multiple sources, with 96% of baby boomers using search engines during a purchasing decision. Ultimately this means that your competitors will have plenty of opportunities to influence their decision.

Having already touched on baby boomers sometimes being referred to as the ‘me generation’, the demographic is known for being highly sceptical and quick to point the finger, often expecting everything to be right the first time around, leaving no room for mistakes. As a result, when trying to foster a connection with baby boomers, it’s key to present them with all the necessary information about your product or service, but in a clear and straightforward manner. For example, provide them with detailed yet easily digestible user manuals and hyperlink to independent reviews so that they can more easily find the detail that they desire.

Furthermore, you need to have a strategy in place that will maintain engagement throughout the lengthy decision-making process. Gimmicks aimed at prompting quick purchases are likely to be ineffectual with baby boomers. As an example, you may want to consider providing them with things to read as opposed to today’s increasingly popular visual approach; with a lengthier attention span than other generations, considering longer form content that is both informative and will foster trust in your brand is likely to hit the sweet spot with baby boomers.
 

3. Incentivise sharing

While they may not be digital or social media natives, baby boomers are actually the most likely to share things online. In fact, research suggests that baby boomers are 19% more likely to share content than other demographics, as they like to share helpful and interesting online finds with family and friends.

As such, providing them with content that is not only likely to be useful to them but also to relatives is likely to help foster a stronger relationship with customers in this demographic. This can be aided by adding clearly marked, easy to use, social sharing buttons on both products and content. This is particularly important when it comes to Facebook as an estimated 70% of baby boomers actively use the platform.

With baby boomers already inclined to share things online it is also worth considering rewarding this behaviour within your marketing and customer retention strategy. Giving them points or rewards for doing this will not only further strengthen the affiliation that they feel towards your brand but also help to further develop your brand awareness.
 

Establishing meaningful bonds with baby boomers

With many brands making wrong or misinformed assumptions about baby boomers, aligning your strategy to focus on this generation is likely to help give you a competitive edge.

Understanding the purchasing habits of those within the demographic will help to ensure that you provide content that aligns with their decision-making process. This will both strengthen your relationship with them and set your brand apart.

For more information or advice on how to target baby boomers, or if you’re interested in developing a loyalty and customer experience offering in line with the demands of your customers, get in touch today.

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