The Baby Boomers
The Washington Post is credited with coming up with the term to describe the generation born after the end of the second world war. Not surprisingly after six years of conflict, when the troops returned home there was a boom in pregnancies.
The definition typically covers those born from around 1946 up until the early 1960s when birth rates declined. Baby boomers are now aged from about 55 to 70.
Why they matter
They are considered by many to have been fortunate. They avoided major wars, benefitted from the then new NHS, had free university education, more affordable housing and good employment opportunities. Significant to this article, many baby boomers have generous pension provisions.
There are around 15 million baby boomers in the UK. Largely due to gains in property values, they’re estimated to be in possession of over 45% of the nation’s wealth! Around 40% have a net worth of £500K+
Undoubtedly, it’s an important market that should not be ignored
What you should not do
More enlightened marketers now treat baby boomers as a distinct group, creating and targeting campaigns accordingly.
They are though in the minority. Whether it’s due to inexperience, ignorance, lack of understanding or something else, the majority of campaigns fail to target this key demographic effectively. All too often, advertising is too youthful, or and even worse, use the stereotype pensioner image showing a grey-haired couple holding hands sat down and contented, it just doesn’t work.
Understanding Baby Boomers
The crucial point to understand is that although many of them may already be drawing their pensions, they’re not so keen on being called pensioners!
Whereas older “typical” pensioners, may be holidaying in Eastbourne and playing bingo; Baby boomers are more likely to be found on adventure holidays in some exotic location, keeping fit at the gym or wrapped in Lycra cycling vast mileages.
Although they may now be comfortable financially, their post war childhoods were austere, remembering this, they still look for value for money and hate waste.
It is the DIY generation, sewing, mending, making and decorating skills were passed on from their parents.
It’s the generation that witnessed many changes; the decline of the old established political order, had pop music, attended anti Vietnam war riots, were the first to use computers and the internet.
For many, they’re the first in their families to attend university, to follow different career paths and to have different political views to their parents. Many will have moved away from their childhood towns and travelled widely through pleasure and work.
They have developed a taste for the finer things in life, good food, nice cars and a wine or two. They feel they’ve earned it, having studied hard and worked long hours. Quite a few will admit they were a fortunate generation and have a strong sense of fairness to others.
Marketing to baby boomers
Due to it’s wealth, influence and size, this is a key market to target. The task of marketing to it, should not be underestimated. It’s a well informed market with high demands.
To succeed, consider Baby Boomers a distinct group requiring a specific campaign approach.
Here are some Tips to consider presented in a what to do and what not to do format;
- Target the sector specifically
- Be relevant, Baby Boomers are post Rock and Roll, the younger ones, post The Beatles!
- Depict the right age range in your advertising, use aspirational images
- Be adventurous, this group is more likely to take an adventure holiday than stay at a B and B in Blackpool
- Portray a sense of fairness, it was also a rebellious generation
- Use Social Media, 20% of Facebook users are 55+ (Statista 2016)
- Offer value for money
- Only work with agencies familiar with this market
- Never patronise
- Avoid alienating by using unrealistically young-looking models, similarly avoid older or unattractive ones!
- Don’t underestimate their technical skills, the group are on-line, internet savvy and clever shoppers
- Do not assume they are stuck in their ways, this group has witnessed more change than any other group during their life
- Never group with older pre-war pensioners
- Keep clear of stereotyping, it’s a diverse demographic
Reaching Baby Boomers with Web-Clubs
Since starting with the Gardeners Club in 2000, Web-Clubs have built up a membership across all of our consumer clubs of over 3.5 million. Overall nearly 40% of members lie within the baby boomer age range.
Our membership can be reached using our email marketing services.
Saga provide insurance and travel services to the over fifty market, Web-clubs regularly run campaigns on their behalf regularly achieving impressive email open rates of 15-20%.
British Seniors Insurance Agency reach new clients through our Homeowners Club where over 50% of the members are aged over 50.
About the author
Ralph is a baby boomer and marketer with over thirty years experience in the business. He has held senior marketing positions both domestically and internationally.