Why Businesses Must Market to the 55+ Generations
An Untapped Reservoir: Older Adults Offer Opportunities for B2B Brands
Many brands today are overly focused on marketing to Millennials (aged 24 to 40) and Gen Zers (aged 6 to 24.) It’s easy for advertisers to keep the generations that grew up with the internet at the forefront; however, this often leaves Baby Boomers (aged 57 to 75) on the backburner. In this blog, I’ll explore why brands should focus their digital marketing on the aging population and best practices for doing so.
The Power of Older Generations
There are two main reasons why businesses should rethink their target audiences, and why putting seniors at the forefront is a smart decision.
Older Americans make up a large portion of the population and the number of consumers aged 65+ continues to rise each year. A report from the Administration for Community Living, which referenced data from the Census Bureau, found this age group increased by roughly 1.7 million people from 2018 to 2019. That same report estimates the 65+ population will be twice as large by 2040 compared to the year 2000 – hitting around 80.8 million people. With the size of this audience increasing, it creates opportunities for B2B brands whose products and services can be useful for these individiuals.
On top of the large population, this group also has strong buying power and they’re discovering new ways to spend their money to enhance their personal lives and their careers. In fact, a Nielsen report showed 70% of disposable income in the United States is in the hands of Baby Boomers.
Consumers aged 65+ are also adopting online shopping habits the quickest. The coronavirus pandemic led many consumers to change their shopping behaviors due to safety concerns, thus causing a 45.3% increase in year-over-year (YoY) online sales. Believe it or not, shoppers who are 65 and older spent almost 50% more via eCommerce in 2020 than they had in 2019 – this age group also increased their shopping trips 40% in a YoY comparison.
As the eCommerce shopping trend continues to rise in popularity among those who are older, it’s important to note that Baby Boomers are expected to inherit upward of $13 trillion by 2050. Businesses must take advantage of the purchasing power and habits of older shoppers as soon as possible to increase their market share over the next few decades.
How to Leverage Marketing to Older Generations
Now that we’ve covered why businesses should target older age groups, find out what it takes for a brand to ensure its messaging hits the mark.
Online is Optimal
It’s time for businesses to say goodbye to relying solely upon traditional methods to reach the Baby Boomer+ market and explore social media marketing. Today, 7 in 10 senior adults in the United States have internet access, a percentage that continually rises. Of those seniors who are online, more than 80% have social media accounts – to put into perspective, that’s about 4.6 million active accounts. Furthermore, most Baby Boomers check social media every day, and 84% of them believe it can enhance their quality of life.
While Gen Z is responsible for the Tik Tok craze, that platform is not the focus for Baby Boomers+. Instead, YouTube and Facebook are the most visited social media sites among the Baby Boomer population, with 70% and 68% of Boomers visiting those sites, respectively. Other sites including Pinterest (27%), LinkedIn (24%), and Instagram (23%) round out the top 5 most visited social media platforms by this age group. Creating senior-targeted online marketing campaigns that leverage highly trafficked social media platforms supports brand awareness and lead generation.
The Importance of R-E-S-P-E-C-T
More often than not, it seems that seniors are the butt of the joke in advertisements and marketing campaigns. However, this tactic comes at a cost. The majority (95%) of advertisements today are designed to appeal to consumers under 50, even though Baby Boomers (those aged 57 to 75) make up the second largest population in the United States.
Here’s a few helpful tips to guide messaging to seniors:
- Incorporate older generations’ values of family, friends, and a sense of community.
- Have a clear message and call to action within a marketing campaign or ad.
- Share videos via YouTube and Facebook since they are the most visited social media sites. Incorporate captions so that viewers can understand the messaging even if they do not have the sound turned on.
- Include images that represent the older population so they can envision themselves using your products or services.
- Produce materials with a larger font size and clear pictures to ensure your message is evident and memorable.
- Don’t dismiss or make fun of older generations. These customers have years of industry experience and have earned respect from their peers. They can recommend your products and services to the next generation of business leaders.
- Positive customer service interactions drive brand loyalty among older consumers.
Leverage this Key Demographic
From the significant growth in population size to the abundance of disposable income, older adults are a buying force to be reckoned with. Rather than dismiss older generations, companies would do well creating campaigns that specifically target Baby Boomers by following the best practices mentioned above.
Is your business ready to expand its audience to an older generation? Contact us today to learn how to build a B2B marketing campaign that reaches the right people.
Brianna Fitzpatrick is an Account Executive at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She has an excitement for media relations and crafting key messages for thought leaders.