Baby Boomers hold 70% of the nations’ wealth, yet only 10% of the US marketing spendings target this generation. Marketing expert Juliane Kringe explores how the COVID19 pandemic has unveiled a forgotten target group in digital marketing and highlights how brands can use this opportunity for their digital concepts.
I started my career in marketing and advertising in 2003. Since then, I have consulted and worked with dozens of companies and brands from various industries. One of the most fascinating parts of my job is to analyze different generations and target groups, to understand their behavior and how they can be reached best.
Younger target groups such as Millennials or Gen Z’s – born between 1981 and 2012, have often been the focus of marketers since this generation dictates trends and are the growing consumer audience. They are digital natives who understand the landscape better than any other generation and are the most active group on the major digital platforms. Jumping at this opportunity, many brands have shifted their marketing budgets to focus on social media platforms since advertising costs were much lower than traditional media and it is the easiest place to reach this generation.
It is here where brands are forgetting about older generations such as Baby Boomers. We are seeing many brands taking advantage of this cost-efficient opportunity to reach younger generations even if their most valuable customers are between 57-75 years old. While Baby Boomers are the largest group of consumers for traditional media such as television, magazines, newspaper and radio, studies show that the pandemic has changed their digital behavior.
Baby Boomers are highly interesting for brands. They are not only less affected by the pandemic since most of them are already retired and paid off their houses – they also hold 70% of the nations’ wealth. While many Baby Boomers were skeptical about social media and online shopping before the pandemic, they have used the last year to catch up with the younger generations.
Brick & Mortar has been the preferred way to shop for most of their lives, but the pandemic and physical shopping restrictions made Baby Boomers more comfortable with buying goods online – 39% of their purchases were made online in the last year.
Delivery services from grocery stores and restaurants have seen an increase in orders from older generations and Baby Boomers’. Shopping on lowes.com soared by an incredible 70% in the first month of the pandemic.
Facebook is their top preferred social media channel. Ninety percent of Baby Boomers have a Facebook account and use the platform to connect with friends to feel less lonely in a time with limited personal interactions. YouTube is the second most frequented platform – 67% of people over 57 years spend time on YouTube to watch tutorials and to learn new skills.
These numbers speak for themselves and it will be interesting to see if marketers and advertising agencies will bring this generation back into the spotlight of marketing. There is no doubt that there is a huge opportunity for many brands since Baby Boomers hold 70% of the nations’ wealth but are only targeted by 10% of the US marketing spendings. There is no need anymore to exclude them from digital marketing campaigns – Marketers just need to focus on the right digital channels.
In my opinion, many industries would benefit by taking a closer look at this generation. Educational tools, language courses, DIY crafts, cooking and home improvement are just a small range of possible markets to explore and target. I will keep monitoring this generation closely and I am excited to keep the Baby Boomers in mind when it comes to new projects and digital concepts.
Juliane Kringe grew up in Siegen, Germany. She graduated in International Marketing in the Netherlands and lived in Cologne, Hamburg, and Berlin before she moved to Los Angeles in 2018. In her profession as a marketing expert with more than 14 years of experience, she successfully led brand developments, global communication strategies, and 360° campaigns.
Juliane has worked for top-class advertising & design agencies including Leo Burnett, Ogilvy or VaynerMedia. Her current position is vice president at BOLD LA. Juliane’s client portfolio includes brands such as Audi, Hugo Boss and Rodeo Drive.