Five reasons marketing to Baby Boomers is still a smart strategy

January 13, 2016 | blog | By Mike Sullivan


While everyone wants to grab the Millennial generation’s attention, the smart Challenger Brand is marketing to Baby Boomers. Here are five reasons why targeting this “forgotten generation” is still a smart strategy and three tips to attract Baby Boomers to your restaurant.

1 – Baby Boomers Have More Disposable Income.

According to a recent Nielsen report, Baby Boomers (people born from 1946 to 1964), make up about 44 percent of the U.S. adult population and account for $230 billion in sales of consumer packaged goods like coffee and diet soda. They also make up a whopping 70% of disposable income in the United States. And they stand to gain even more wealth. Statistics show they’ll inherit $13 trillion over the next 20 years.
Marketing Tip: Boomers Are Still Relevant

For Challenger Brands, ignoring this demographic is like leaving money on the table. Even if your Brand Personality is built around a cool, hipster persona, keep in mind that it was the Boomer generation who originally made torn, faded jeans fashionable, attended Woodstock and coined the term “cool” in the first place.

2 – Baby Boomers Love Brands That Love Them Back.

According to a 2012 Nielsen report on Baby Boomers, a large segment of this generation is open-minded and eager to try new things, while still others in the over-60 demographic might live on a fixed income and happily abandon life-long brands for a better value. The key for Challenger Brands in marketing to Baby Boomers is to highlight the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) value for this target customer.

Marketing Tip: Keep Your Promises to Maintain Baby Boomer Loyalty

Marketer Ann Fishman advises marketers to build and then safeguard the trust of Baby Boomer customers. “You want to fulfill promises with Baby Boomers,” she says. Keep in mind that this was the generation that rebelled against restrictions imposed by their parents and staged sit-ins to rage against the government. Any marketing that fails to deliver on a promise or that is patronizing will be an immediate turn off to this generation.

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3 – Baby Boomers Are Online

Contrary to what you might think, about one-third of all online and social media users are Baby Boomers. The way Boomers use social media differs from younger generations, however. While the older generation reads more newspapers and magazines online, they’re less likely to watch video online; and while Boomers use Facebook and Twitter, they’re not as active on Instagram and Snapchat.

Marketing Tip: Choose Online Channels Wisely to Target Baby Boomers.

As you develop your social media strategy for Baby Boomers, choose channels where you’ll capture the right audience. But don’t dismiss online advertising as a means to attract this consumer – each month, 45 to 64 year olds spend an average of 29 hours each month online, making them the second heaviest users of the web.

4 – Remember, Baby Boomers Are the ‘Me’ Generation

Journalist Tom Wolfe dubbed Baby Boomers the “Me Generation” during post-WWII economic prosperity. “Self-fulfillment” and “self-realization” became the aspirations of Boomers in the 1970s, also known as the Me Decade. While this generation shouldn’t be seen as self-absorbed hedonists, “They’re used to having someone wait on them,” says Fishman.

Marketing Tip: Take the Personal Approach with Baby Boomers

Marketing with a personal, highly targeted approach is ideal for Baby Boomers. Again, underscore the WIIFM value prospect for this customer and ensure that you draw them in with multiple points of contact through social media, web and traditional marketing (signage, mail, etc.).

5 – Baby Boomers Are Not ‘Old’

Forget the words “senior” or “early bird special” if you want to attract Baby Boomers. This generation, never mind their age, does not view themselves as “old.” You can, however, find ways to market to this group without mentioning age at all. It just takes a little ingenuity.

Marketing Tip: Launch In-house Marketing Targeted at Baby Boomers

The National Restaurant Association has some suggestions for making your restaurant more Baby Boomer-friendly, including:

  • Offer menu options. Heart-healthy options and smaller portion sizes are popular with the older generation. Instead of calling these senior specials, call them lunch portions or simply offer a smaller size option on the menu. Also, pay attention to font size and color combinations to improve the readability of your menu.
  • Keeping sound/music levels down. Boomers enjoy dinner conversation, so pay attention to the music volume.
  • Ensure servers are attentive and polite. Boomers are the “Me” generation, after all, and courtesy, a positive attitude and friendly, attentive service are important to them.
  • Give them a deal. Consider a loyalty program, coupons or discounts.

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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