Boomers followed the “greatest generation,” and they haven’t done so badly themselves. Born in the years 1946-1964, Boomers swelled the country’s population in the post-WWII years and have the highest disposable income of any generation.
According to the “Pew Research Center,” there are 74 million “Baby Boomers” currently living in the United States. That is down from 80 million in 2019. Although their population is closely trailed by Millennials, Boomers make up the majority of spending in the U.S. economy.
Contrary to popular belief, marketing to Boomers doesn’t only include sending direct mail pieces and advertising on Fox news. Understanding that generational marketing is about observing prevalent behaviors among similarly aged people and not about stereotyping a whole generation is something that will help you with your marketing strategies.
As a group, they represent a large and highly desirable pool of sales prospects. If you want to up your sales in today’s market, you need to know more about how to sell to them. Before you can market to any specific demographic, you must first understand their characteristics and motivations. This is why knowing your buyer personas is imperative.
Information over persuasion
Baby Boomers are a highly-engaged and active audience that spends a lot of time online—in fact, they make 20% more online purchases than Millennials, the generation typically associated with online usage.
A smart approach, when selling to Boomers, is to provide plenty of data, however, instead of pressing for a decision, provide a summary of available options. When supplying information, as a general rule, don’t use slang. Using slang, with Boomers, can create miscommunication and result in a lack of clarity. Also, make it clear that you are available to answer any questions they may have. In the process, establish yourself as someone who is friendly and knowledgeable, but not pushy.
“Baby Boomers” still believe in the American dream, are more financially stable than any other generation, and are less influenced by their peers. While dubbed the “Me Generation” in the 70s, they are still very loyal to their favorite brands, not unlike Gen Xers.
“Baby Boomers” want to feel comfortable with the salesperson before they can feel comfortable with the product. When meeting with them in person, look them in the eye. Do not take phone calls when in a meeting and do not text. Boomers, especially, view that as a disinterest in them, of which it is to anyone. When marketing to them remember they respond to referrals and testimonials from people they trust and respect and who have had experience with the product or service.
Building trust through dependable behavior and good follow-up is essential, and the more personal contact you can have the better. Boomers come from a history of face-to-face sales processes and relationships built over coffees, lunches, and phone calls. In our post-pandemic marketing world, it is not always easy to meet face-to-face. Boomers are said to be the least to require mask-wearing and are also the most comfortable meeting you in person.
In your efforts to build trust with the Boomers, perhaps the most unpredictable area when it comes to communication is the use of technology. Even the youngest of this generation came of age long before the introduction of social networking, hand-held devices, and even email. While many keep up with the savviest programs and mediums, it may be best to start out with an old-fashioned approach when it comes to the first point of contact. (If your first introduction must be via email, take time to find out about them and approach them on a personal level.) Email and texting have their place once the relationship is established.
Don’t be too informal as Boomers were brought up in a more formal environment than is typical today. When communicating with a Boomer, have a clear subject line and define the next steps. Keep the content concrete and actionable. Ask yourself: Does my communication represent the formal expectations of the Boomer generation? In any communication, whether old-fashioned letters or emails, strive to meet the expectations of the customer.
Avoid wasting time
Simplify the sales process. Ask the right questions and then listen, to uncover their needs. Then only give them the information that is necessary to make their decision. Boomers react positively to information that proves your product is worth their money. As a result, showcasing clear benefits can help this demographic through the decision-making process.
When marketing to Boomers use clear headings and bullet points to convey key selling points as this style makes content easier to understand and helps users digest information quickly. Also, focus on how your product or service will benefit them. With significant purchasing potential, this generation appreciates understanding the benefits that spending their money with you, will provide.
Be Optimistic and play up Longevity
Be the bright spot in their day as you interact with them. Don’t assume this group will only be interested in traditional sales. You may be surprised that they are open to innovative ways of developing processes and policies.
Boomers like being on the cutting edge. Even if they don’t buy every latest and greatest idea you put in front of them, they will appreciate that you are showing them cutting-edge products and services.
Census figures show that a majority of Boomers can expect to live into their eighties and a significant number will make it to ninety and beyond. Remember that aging generations often think of themselves as being younger than they actually are. As we market to the Boomers, remember our job is to empower them and help them achieve their goals, as with any customer.
Above all else, respect, enthusiasm, and clear communication will help your brand resonate with this target market.