5 Myths About Marketing To Baby Boomers

If you picture a granny in a rocking chair when you think of Baby Boomers, you need to change your marketing tactics.
September 22, 2011

Did you know every day over 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65? There are almost 80 million Baby Boomers in the United States, and collectively this group has spending power upwards of $1 trillion annually. As a business owner, you should examine the myths surrounding this age group if you want to successfully target this lucrative demographic.

Myth 1: Baby Boomers have fierce brand loyalty

This is not the case, since Baby Boomers grew up in the 1960s during a time of youthful freedom, experimentation and expression. Some studies have shown Baby Boomers are more likely to try new brands than any other demographic. For example, 78 percent of Baby Boomers will switch TV brands, and 70 percent will switch brands when buying home appliances.

Myth 2: Baby Boomers have health and mobility issues

The perception that Baby Boomers are in bad health and have a hard time getting around leads to ineffective marketing. Your messaging and offers should engage them as active consumers. As a direct result of medical technology and the advancement of hip and joint replacement surgery, among others, they are going back to the activities they once loved to do—and some have never taken a break from them. What's even more encouraging is that Boomers are engaging in activities for health benefits. They might not be running as fast or jumping as high but they are out there doing it.

Myth 3: Baby Boomers get tighter with money as they age

Baby Boomers now cite the average retirement age at around 68, and over 50 percent of Boomers will have new careers. With a genuine need to contribute to society and stay active, retirement isn't what it used to be. Baby Boomers will have disposable income while working and continue to try new things given their busy and on-the-go lifestyle, which is great for marketers.

Myth 4: Baby Boomers don't engage with technology

A recent eMarketer study confirmed almost 50 percent of Baby Boomers maintain an active social media profile. So reaching them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is now an option. While Facebook is most popular among Boomers, Twitter is also growing in popularity. Don't count them out on the mobile front either, Boomers now account for over 20 percent of smartphone users.

 Myth 5: Baby Boomers don't travel that much

It is a fact that Baby Boomers have traveled more than the generation before them. They consider travel a necessity. With the kids off to school and a great connection to the global community, there is more opportunity than ever. Lastly, 82 percent of all luxury goods are consumed by Baby Boomers, which directly ties into the luxury travel and hospitality industries.

When thinking about marketing to Baby Boomers, the granny with the walker image needn't apply. Today's Boomers are more youthful, both in brand expression and loyalty. Developing a solid research and segmentation strategy to drive your creative process and actively engage Baby Boomers can prove to be a smart and profitable move for your company or brand.

OPEN Cardmember Paul Prisco is the Founder and Principal at Dog Food Design, a design and direct-marketing agency for brands. He has helped leading organizations such as AARP and others leverage design in their direct marketing programs to drive ROI.