Your audience is living their best lives. Do your campaigns reflect that? Inspire your elderly target audience with a custom approach that mirrors their lifestyle. Marketing to seniors helps build relationships with a generation with more buying power and annual consumer expenditures than their younger counterparts.
But avoid elderly stereotypes in advertising and poorly targeted strategies. These can alienate potential customers. Optimize your campaigns by exploring the Baby Boomer demographic and learning how to market to seniors.
Who are Baby Boomers?
Baby Boomers are children of the silent generation and parents to Gen X and Millennials. They were born after World War II, between the 1940s and 1960s. Statista reported that there are 70.23 million Boomers and Epsilon noted they are spending $548.1 billion annually. An amount that is much greater than younger generations, with Gen X being the second largest annual spenders at $357 billion.
Visa has stated that this particular demographic is "responsible for more spending growth over the past decade than any other generation, including the coveted millennials." In 2029, the youngest Boomer will turn 65. And Deloitte estimates that the generation's financial assets will be $26 trillion.
Yet, Fast Company said only around 5% of U.S. advertising is directed at people over 50, suggesting that the elderly target audience is an untapped market in advertising campaigns. Moreover, many efforts fail to accurately pinpoint aging populations' needs, desires, and differences. Senior market segmentation must go beyond age, and companies should consider personalization tactics to determine what motivates their audience.
So, who are Zoomers, and how do they differ from Boomers? Baby Boomers aren't known for their tech savviness, yet grouping them as an anti-tech population isn't practical. According to Pew Research, more than 50% of Boomers own tablets, 68% own smartphones, and NRF found that two-thirds tried buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) options during the pandemic. They're also increasing their use of social media channels, with the World Economic Forum finding that Instagram usage is up 59% since 2016 and NonProfit Pro noting that 48% engage with brands on social media.
The term "Zoomers" has two definitions, according to Merriam-Webster. It was first used to describe physically active Baby Boomers. The active aging group refuses to age quietly at home and instead wants to travel, try new things, or continue working. The term also applies to Gen Z, with many Boomers calling Gen Z Zoomers.
What's Important to the Over 50 Market
When marketing to an aging population, it's essential to remember that variances exist among Boomers. For example, Epsilon found that "Boomers with kids are more likely to shop online (42%) than Boomers without (33%)." AARP estimates that 30% of the US labor force is 50 or older. Even after retirement, around one in five Boomers will continue to work at least part-time, according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute.
Active adults want a social and friendly environment that provides a sense of community and reflects their values. They prioritize family, health, and relationships. According to Euromonitor, "Baby Boomers adopt healthy lifestyles and tend to seek activities, products, and services that help them stay healthy and active for longer."
Senior travelers also spend more than younger groups. In 2022, Americans age 50-plus told AARP they expected to spend $8,369 on average, whereas people age 70 and over anticipated spending more than $11,500.
Indeed, the boomers are OK. Social Security checks will increase by 8.7% next year — the biggest cost-of-living increase for the program since 1981. (Why? See the first story.) The ~70 million Americans who get Social Security benefits will see their monthly payments increase by more than $140 beginning in January. Another financial cushion coming to retirees: The standard Part B Medicare premium cost will fall by 3.1%."
How to Market to Seniors, What You Need to Know
Your senior marketing strategy should reflect your unique target audience. Unfortunately, many advertisers fail to hit the mark. AARP research found that only 15% of advertising materials include adults over 50, and just 5% show older people interacting with technology. Furthermore, only 13% of images depict 50-plus individuals at work, even though they make up one-third of the workforce.
Making assumptions about travelers and shoppers can cause your organization to lose a loyal customer base. Fast Company reported that people over 50 are "more sincere in that when they have a good experience with a brand, 68% say they share it with other people." The only way to avoid over-generalizations is by using data to create custom buyer experiences. A comprehensive profile of your ideal buyer helps you develop personalized messaging for older adults.
Mature consumers intend to spend their money wisely and want convenient, accessible experiences. Brands can gain trust by emphasizing value, quality, and customer service. Marketing content should be easy to understand and read, regardless of the channel. It can help an aging audience by speaking directly to their lifestyle, which varies among Boomers.
Generational values also affect your marketing impact. Baby Boomer shoppers prefer in-store experiences and are less likely to switch products. Yet, individuals 65 and older are the "fastest-growing segment of online shoppers, according to Cutting Edge Products." Their online spending increased 60% between 2020 and 2021. That's why it's crucial to integrate online and offline user journeys for a cohesive experience.
Offline print advertising should align with your goals for email marketing to seniors. Ensuring seamless multi-channel experiences increases brand trust leading to higher loyalty. However, the best place to advertise depends on your audience. Look beyond age and consider the geographical area, behaviors, attitudes, and values. Optimize your approach to campaigns for elderly audiences by embracing their channels and technologies.
Key takeaways for marketing include:
- Highlight your product's value through long blog posts and in-depth videos.
- Provide information about pricing and benefits of products and online shopping.
- Showcase your shorter, less expensive shipping options.
- Use layouts, fonts, and colors that are familiar and easy to process.
- Leverage Facebook for ad campaigns but don't discount channels like YouTube.
- Create social media and display advertisements to capture desktop and mobile users.
Improve Your Senior Marketing Strategy
Engage your elderly target audience and connect them to your brand by personalizing your campaigns. When considering how to reach your market, remember that age isn't the only defining factor. Instead, cultural, geographic, and lifestyle characteristics can significantly differ among those 50 and older. Experienced marketers and agencies understand your audience, offering innovative, data-based advertising ideas. Ensure your campaign hits the mark by working with agencies that provide insights to improve performance and tailor content to your ideal customer. Learn more about marketing to seniors by contacting MNI.