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Marketing to the Make Love, Not War Generation

Miranda Anderson | Digitaria
By Miranda Anderson , Account Supervisor | @msmanderson
Oct 22, 2012

There are more than 70 million Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. They’ve lived through turbulent times of political assassinations and the Vietnam War, but also breakthrough moments in science and culture, like the first steps on the Moon and Beatlemania.

A few years ago, the first wave of boomers started turning 65, aging into Medicare, getting closer to Social Security and pension retirement benefits. Forty-two percent are delaying retirement (with only nine percent financially prepared for retirement)  and roughly 26 percent still work full time. Yet, they hold more wealth than any other generation.

So how do you reach Baby Boomers?

AdFed of Minnesota’s breakfast meeting Thursday featured Digitaria client UnitedHealthcare’s Chief Marketing Officer for Medicare & Retirement, Terry Clark. His presentation focused on exactly that: how do you reach an entire generation of self-reliant, rugged individualists who are dead-set on leaving this world as they came into it, making a huge splash.

Clark is a specialist in the insurance industry, but his broad experiences allowed him to distill a few key insights on this audience, and how to market to boomers:

  • Don’t abandon “old” media. Boomers still watch TV, so stick with it for this audience. They still listen to the radio. And more than 80 percent use a cell phone (and know how to text!) though only 14 percent own smartphones.
  • Embrace a retail mentality. This is a shopping generation: their spending accounts for 40 percent of the U.S. total. They favor department stores and are also frequent do-it-yourselfers. So, make something they can DO available with one-stop shopping – whether it’s online gaming that results in earning points, goods or services, or a training program that helps improve their health, knowledge or skills and socialize with others.
  • Above all, speak to the unique individual. Understand that portions of the demographic are a little older, others a little younger -- there’s a nearly two decade range. Some are physically active, others engaged in a new business or career in their life’s “second act.” They may be married, dating, or single, and they come from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Don’t just speak to boomers – do a deeper dive and understand the nuances of your splintered audience.