Digital Marketing to the BOOM generation

In the week I review articles on digital lives of boomers and myths about marketing to the oldies,  my mother decides to join Facebook sending me her first friend request…the irony!

OK I’d never consider my mum an ‘oldie’,  the term is offensive…and hey I’m probably an ‘oldie’ too according to most teens.  This article is all about busting those bad ‘oldie’ myths…

Mum if you are reading,  Happy Mother’s Day this one’s for you ;)  xo

Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are accustomed to change. They’ve lived through numerous wars, were the first TV generation, the first to use PCs, and let’s not forget it’s the boomers that invented the Internet!

Interestingly an article on boomers embracing digital media by Mashable notes Google’s chief Internet evangelist and one of the fathers of the Internet, turns 68 in June!  ‘The web, often viewed as a realm for just the young, is getting older.’

MYTH or MISCONCEPTION # 1: BOOMERS ARE BRAND LOYAL
Tradition says that by the age of 50, a consumer has developed deeply entrenched buying preferences and brand loyalty that no amount of marketing can undo. Today’s marketers, however, are finding that tradition is wrong. “Unlike previous generations, boomers are much more likely to change careers, have more children, go back to school, remarry, pursue new hobbies, and inherit more money from their parents.  Consequently, marketers are finding that boomers’ brand preferences and shopping habits are not as entrenched as once thought.” (Marketing Strategy, 2005)

MISCONCEPTION?
I definately agree this generation of Boomers are well adapted to change, though there may be a few Brand Loyals still out there.

Mother Case Study 1:
My Mother, a prime Boomer has been eating Weet-Bix as her breakfast of choice – for 30 years running!

Did someone say brand loyal?
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MYTH or MISCONCEPTION# 2: BOOMERS DO NOT SPEND MUCH TIME ONLINE

Mother Case Study 2:

Apart from the late adoption of social media, smart phone technology, and still owning a Fossil of a Laptop that’s takes 10mins to warm up (plus an annoying ‘running dog’ on screen – anyone old enough to recall that!), this boomer on average is a mainstream adopter of technology…
Compare my facts to research on Boomers, the results show boomers digital habits are not unlike younger generations.

‘Boomers spend more time and money online than any other demographic. Younger boomers (ages 47 to 55) spent an average of 39.3 hours online per month in 2010 and Older boomers (ages 56 to 65) averaged only slightly less, at 36.5 hours. A lot of that time was spent shopping—and buying says’ a Pew Internet Research Project. Health information is the third-most common search activity for adults of all ages.’ According to my personal Case Study and comparison research, top of the line search for boomers is certainly Health.
MYTH BUSTED!
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MYTH or MISCONCEPTION # 3:  BOOMERS ARE RELUCTANT TO ADAPT TO GEN Y INVENTED SOCIAL MEDIA (Web 2.0)

Whilst there may be some laggards in Boomer world, reluctance to embrace Social Media and new technology also happens to Gen X, and even Gen Y. I know several Gen Y’s reluctant to join Facebook…

Contrary to stereotypical belief boomers are embracing technology.

According to Mashable (& the Pew Research Project) “recent trends show older people are among the fastest-growing demographics online. Social network use among Internet users 50 years old and older has nearly doubled to 42% over the past year…in the U.S. alone there are nearly 16 million people 55 and older using Facebook.”

Anthill Online, Myths and misconceptions article maintains Facebook has the potential to improve the lives of older Australians by keeping them connected and maintaining relationships through online groups and fan pages. e-marketer agrees, ‘Boomers and older people are creating Facebook groups fueled by their passion about a particular product or service, and companies have the opportunity to target these online groups as part of their social media strategy’.
MYTH BUSTED!

I wrote a blog on Google TV recently and it’s impending release in Australia (launched in US last year).  Looking at the digital awareness of BOOMERS,  I think they’d be a great market to target for Google TV.  What do you think?  Please feel free to COMMENT

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REFERENCES

[1] ANTHILL ONLINE, 19th April 2011, “Myths and misconceptions about marketing to the oldies”, http://anthillonline.com/myths-and-misconceptions-about-marketing-to-the-%E2%80%98oldies%E2%80%99/

[2] E-MARKETER, April 4th 2011, ‘Are Digital Marketers Ignoring Baby Boomers”, http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008317

[3] MASHABLE, April 6th 2011, ‘How Baby Boomers Are Embracing Digital Media’,  http://mashable.com/2011/04/06/baby-boomers-digital-media/

[4] FERRELL O.C and HARTLINE Michael D, 2005, Marketing Strategy – 4th Edition

[5] PEW INTERNET, Aug 2010, ‘Older-Adults-and-Social-Media/Report’, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Older-Adults-and-Social-Media/Report.aspx

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3 Comments on “Digital Marketing to the BOOM generation”

  1. d8 mum says:

    Hi d8, your case study mum here!

    I agree that the Boomers have really embraced the internet, some reasons being good time management (my generation hates wasting time, especially as there is less ahead of us than behind us) leaving more time for fun pursuits like gardening, saving the hassle of having to go to the shops, find parking and less physically strenuous for the mobility challenged like me.

    Re BOOM GEN LOYALTY
    Original brand weetbix loyalty extra-ordinaire – I’ve been eating it for 58 years and counting (yes more than the 30 you quoted, you probably didn’t realise it’s been around longer than you!)…I challenge anyone to beat my record!

    Google TV sounds like a great idea if I don’t have to turn on my dinosaur laptop! Finally, thanks for the case study – I’m flattered!

    xoo :)

  2. natwom says:

    Given Baby Boomers still watch a lot of TV (compared to young adults) and are active in using search engines, they would certainly be an appropriate target market. So Boomers are a fast moving social media deomgraphic? Perhaps that explains the increase in friend requests from my friend’s mums I have experienced lately :)

    • d8blog says:

      Ha ha yes I also expect that increase… since Mum sent her request I can see Aunty in Sydney follow suit, then both their network of friends and so on!
      I read a blog regarding ‘Facebook Groups’ for privacy controls etc. recently in one of our student posts, must admit haven’t had a chance to sort out groups but for privacy measures though I’ll aim to do so ASAP! :)


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