Mashable posted a really good article today on how to market to baby boomers online. In online marketing, you have to market to all your audiences. Marketing a product which has a target audience of primarily older people can be difficult online. People hear online marketing and think oh that must mean Facebook or Twitter. Those are the new trends, they’re free, they must work. But with baby boomers, you are dealing with an entirely different audience.
To be clear, the article defines baby boomers as (at least right now) ages 45-63. This is important because Forrester Research conducted a study analyzing the online activities of US internet users by generation. Social networking, chat rooms and message boards account for 19% of the activity of baby boomers. As a guy in my 20s, I know parents on Facebook (fortunately not my own, love you mom and dad but I’m not sure I’m ready to share my social network) but not many baby boomers are really active on Facebook. One thing that the article says is that baby boomers, though they’re less likely to be searching for Facebook pages and brands, if they have other friends who ‘like’ it, they will check it out.
The number on activity baby boomers are doing online is using search engines. This is great news for search engine optimization and search engine marketing!
But once you’ve found the baby boomers, how should you target them? The article concludes that baby boomers are more skeptical of advertising, which makes a lot of sense because they are smarter than the younger generations. One sentence I especially liked from the article is that “they tend to value experiences over products.” It makes a lot of sense. As a marketer, you need to market the functionality of the product, whether it be through testimonials, case studies, or customer videos, etc.
The moral of the story, and this tends to be the moral of a lot of marketing stories, is that you need to create targeted content for your target audiences. Marketing to baby boomers online is not impossible, you just have to be smart about where to find them and how to reach them.