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Part 2 of a series on using Social Media to market to Boomers and beyond.

PART 2: BABY BOOMERS, SENIORS AND TWITTER

The media appears to have fallen in love with Twitter (heck, even my 97-year-old Nana has heard of Twitter by now). Who’s on Twitter? The New York Times reports that younger Boomers are fueling Twitter’s growth, while Sysomos data suggests 81% of all Twitter users are 29 or younger.  How important is Twitter for marketing to Baby Boomers and seniors? Paul Briand of the Examiner notes “Baby Boomers 55 to 64 are Twitter users on a slightly lower level, but at a greater frequency than users aged 18 to 24. That's because Twitter has become less of a social network and more of a marketing/social network.” We see that as in keeping with this cohort’s lifestage; it’s a time in their lives when they are focused on both social and vocational development. The New York Times points out mature consumers and technology adoption are not actually strange bedfellows.
As the Web grows up, so do its users, and for many analysts, Twitter’s success represents a new model for Internet success. The notion that children are essential to a new technology’s success has proved to be largely a myth. Adults have driven the growth of many perennially popular Web services. YouTube attracted young adults and then senior citizens before teenagers piled on. Blogger’s early user base was adults and LinkedIn has built a successful social network with professionals as its target.
At Creating Results, the jury’s still out on Twitter’s effectiveness as a business engine for effectively motivating seniors and Boomers to buy.

Curious about the role social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can play in your Boomer marketing programs?  When deciding where to budget your dollars and effort to reach mature consumers, consider the research/statistics.  Also, consider the similarities between the offline and online behavior of Baby Boomers and beyond.  “Businesses and mature consumers often approach challenges and decision-making in a similar fashion – cautiously,” we wrote in our summer newsletter.  As Creating Results works with clients on comprehensive internet marketing strategies, we recommend acting like the Boomers and Silent Generation members we target:  go slowly and be choosy. Over the next few posts, we’ll be sharing stats on how Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or niche sites are used by mature (40+) consumers, along with some generational marketing insights to help your organization reach its goals. 

PART 1:  SOCIAL NETWORKING USE BY GENERATION 

eMarketer statistics identify which social networking sites are used by Baby Boomers, WWII, and Generations X, Y and Z: Networking Sites Used in US by Generation.eMarketer  (Where are the Silents? Anderson Analytics either lumped the roughly 59 million people born between 1925 and 1942 in with the WWII generation or this cohort is very, very quiet indeed.) The reasons for joining a social network are quite similar across the generations, per eMarketer:

Kia's marketing team may be aiming their efforts at "young non-conformists" (see coverage in MediaPost and BNET) but their average owner is aged 52.  (One year younger than the industry average and firmly in the Baby Boom generation.) The ad for the Soul is actually a nice example of ageless marketing.  The message of non-conformity and fun speaks to all…

Neat case study and analysis by Boomer marketing expert Brent Green of a wonderful Mutual of Omaha campaign.  Consumer testimonials + videos = emotional relevance.  As "professor" Green puts it, "the Mutual of Omaha’s campaign [is] quite wise in the context of much national stupidity. It’s a nuanced and integrated branding program that appropriately portrays older people as relevant, passionate…

Who's behind those Foster Grants? Smart marketers who seem to understand that marketing without regard to age is the best marketing. We applaud Foster Grant for their recent selection of Raquel Welch (68) for a new ad campaign. Welch seems a great match for the brand's message: both are sexy, authentic, and timeless.

Resources for marketers looking to connect with the 40+ market, including Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation: White Papers and Reports Is your website primed for 50+ visitors? - A website usability guide for satisfying silver surfers. A Focalyst study on Green Marketing - "Green means more than money when targeting Baby Boomers." Webinars What's working (and what's missing the target) with…

Research tells us that mature consumers place a high value on product trials, and on referrals. Vaseline's new campaign tracking lotion recommendations in an Alaskan town demonstrates the power of one plugged-in 40+ consumer. As Stephanie Clifford notes in the New York Times: "Rather than creating an online social network, [Vaseline] is aiming to map the social network of a…