Auditing Alert: Marketing To Baby Boomers
Many marketers and brands think they know everything about their audience and how to meet their needs. But surprise surprise…. a failure to audit strategy on a recurring basis never sheds light on strategy gaps that widen (or in the case of Facebook algorithm changes….tear completely open). Personally, in my work I tend to audit all campaigns and strategy approaches every 60-90 days, keeping as relevant as possible to those subtle crowd shifts. But some might say that if it’s already working – why change it?
Well, to keep it simple, everything changes (given enough time). You might initially kick butt with your marketing efforts, but as we know with all technological audiences – things can change drastically and as quickly as the blink of an eye. Whether it’s a new technology, algorithm change, or new social media platform, the landscape is ever adjusting and you know your audience’s behavior will respond in kind. So first things first – ALWAYS audit!
Marketing to baby boomers in particular are a unique force of their own, whose behaviors routinely confuse marketers and brands alike. Based on my personal experience, below are some helpful tips on determining where they exist online, how to frame them, and what to look for when structuring your approach:
1. What platforms are baby boomers on?
Time and time again we see a great number of brands attempting to appeal to the Baby Boomer (BB) demographic but failing to grasp where their real attention lies (and also forgetting to tailor content – trust me, it happens). For example, BB’s don’t use SnapChat. So don’t try to teach them how to use it, or push them to use it and/or similar platforms that don’t display meaningful content for those audiences in the first place. As Gary Vaynerchuk says in his book “#AskGaryVee, “No brand should be on any platform where it doesn’t know how to communicate, nor should they go there if no audience exists.” Believe it or not, BB’s fit into multiple categories of technological acuteness; they range from incredibly adapted to completely unadapted. They exist on all platforms to varying degrees – so if your BB audience isn’t specifically tailored, you could end up trashing big chunks of your marketing budget on targets that are too broad. Oftentimes the most effective means of gathering information can be as simple as leveraging common place surveys on your Facebook timeline; boost the post to fit the audience demographic of your choice, and voila! Discover right then and there where the audience is at (and when and why). It can be very powerful, when executed effectively alongside questions tailored to extract what’s meaningful. And it applies to all audiences beyond BBs.
Want more on marketing to baby boomers content tendencies? Check out Pam Vinje at Small Screen Producers’ FANTASTIC piece on how multiple generations consume content online and their impact : LINK
2. Capturing audience experiences through content, imagery, and video
This by far is the most important tip, and the one that is sometimes the most difficult. Trying to determine what content and images to use at what time and what day that yield the highest level of engagement. The majority of this development depends heavily on the information you’ve gathered initially, because it helps dig into the persona of your chosen audience. For example, does the baby boomer crowd you’ve chosen prefer black and white images vs color? Happy faces instead of neutral faces? Storytelling content vs direct content? All of these questions are important – whether you’re selling a product or a service, creating a community of like-minded individuals, or attempting to alter your brand impression. Your content is what bridges the gap where audiences feel aligned with your message, or feel as though they’re being sold something. It MUST be authentic!!
Another EXCELLENT read is by my good friend and colleague Eric Hinson at Explainify, on why messaging via social media is so incredibly imperative: LINK
3. Test, test, test, test some more, and test again
After you’ve identified your baby boomer specific audience and where they are, and have chosen content and imagery to leverage – NOW you can move onto the priority that is testing.
Testing allows you to see how well the market, and your audience, responds to your messaging. Is the engagement high or low? Are people sharing more than commenting? Are views high but response minimal? Gleaning what’s meaningful from these results is imperative in perfecting your strategy over the next few weeks. I wish I could tell you that with this final priority you only have to do it once, but sadly it is not so. In order to provide the highest value you must continue to test new copy, imagery, and messaging in order to continue to grow actionable results. The ideal strategy should make amendments for growing alongside its audience.
So to sums things up, the good news is that it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of work – just a lot of practice, testing, strategizing and optimization (and time). But once it’s underway, the questions that matter most will come naturally. The biggest effort lies in gathering the most meaningful information, and applying it to your strategy. Marketing to baby boomers and seniors in particular are such a vast audience comprised of multifaceted levels of engagement, that it may seem daunting to have to further refine your approach. But it’s imperative to pushing for those quantifiable results. You may find that hunches were right, the data is straight-forward, and only minor adjustments need to be made.
But you might also find that you were improperly targeting an audience you didn’t refine and threw thousands of dollars away on messaging that was neither relevant nor resonated with your intended audience, and on a platform where they don’t exist!
Only auditing can tell you.