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Is There A Secret To Marketing To Boomers?

July 20, 2017

On yesterday’s episode of Encore, our guest was Lina Ko, a renowned professional in the field of marketing communications. She has particular experience marketing to the boomer age group and gave some very interesting insight into what it takes to market to boomers.

The general perception is that boomers are a tricky audience to attract. Is that why they are largely ignored in big marketing campaigns? Big companies, from soft drink companies, to the hottest apps to come out of Silicon Valley, tend to gear their messaging towards the millennial crowd, and in some cases seem to actively alienate boomers. Why is that? Is it a marketing strategy? Well, Ko and many other professionals point out the grave error in judgement for companies who neglect the boomers. This is a demographic with more disposable income than any other age group. When they find products, brands and services they like, they are certainly not afraid to spend. So why would companies fail to reach out to such a valuable audience? The simple answer is that they don’t understand them. They either see them as a tech-illiterate, or unenthusiastic age group to old to latch on to their marketing attempts, or they have no idea how to reach them.

As Ko fully admits, the real secret behind marketing to boomers is that there is no secret. What boomers are looking for in the targeted marketing is the same thing every other age group is looking for, and the dos and donts for marketing to them are fairly straight forward.

The Wrong Approach

The key to marketing to a specific audience is respect above all else. No matter what you are selling, your audience needs to feel that they are regarded with a level of respect that goes beyond just being the target of your sales pitch. It’s strange how many companies tend to forget this when going after the boomer audience. This goes back to the misconceptions of boomers within the marketing world. They are not seen as an engaging market so they are talked down to in a way as if the companies are trying to say, this is something you need and whether you want it is irrelevant. Despite the common thought on the subject, boomers are not just old people in need of repair. Of all these companies that advertise ways for boomers to fix what’s wrong with them, many go about it the complete wrong way. Companies seem to think all boomers want to be young again, and that is a complete misunderstanding of the group.

The Right Approach

When I say that boomers want to be treated the same as everyone else in the marketing world, what I mean is that when they are the target audience, they want to feel as though the they are being spoken to based on their own interests and passions. One size does not fit all for marketing, so when targeting boomers specifically, companies need to understand what boomers want. They want to see people that look like them in ads. They want to have control over what they are doing. And they are not looking to feel young again, but rather an opportunity to use their time to its full potential. They want convenience, fun and freedom later in life. Companies that understand that tend to reach the boomer audience more effectively. Take for instance the ads for Cialis. It’s a tricky thing to sell, but as some medications that deal with erectile dysfunction focus on the problem that needs fixing, these ads address the notion of spontaneity that appeals to the boomer crowd. It’s a difference in knowing who your audience is and what they care about.

So really, the secret to marketing to boomers isn’t too hard to figure out. They demand respect just like anyone and when they are being spoken to, they expect the ones doing the speaking knows them and understands what they want.

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