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“One size communication does not fit all,” commented Kevin Baughen on this blog earlier this week. “None of us should be treating different audiences as if they are one homogeneous group.” Kevin, a marketer based in Surrey, UK, was responding to the findings we shared about generations and their interaction/support of charities. And he was talking about the need to…

More insights from a new Pew Research Center study on the Millennials, which compares the attitudes and habits of 18-29 year olds with those of the Baby Boom, Silent and X generations.  Today's topic: Social networking. Despite tremendous growth in the numbers of Baby Boomers and matures actively participating in social networks, Pew Research Center found that “Only 30% of all Boomers…

Social media marketing seemed to be the topic of the hour at the 2010 International Builders Show (and other conferences I’ve attended in the past few months, such as the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging event).  Builders and developers – of active adult communities, of intergenerational housing, of continuing care retirement communities – are all wondering…

Thanks to a tweet this a.m. from Bill Vick, we can share some updated statistics on what 65+ seniors do online.  New data from Nielsen Online shows that email is still the number one activity of these older Americans.  The next two activities - getting maps and weather - suggest gift-givers might safely consider buying their grandparents a GPS or…

Part 4 of a series on using social media for marketing to Baby Boomers and beyond. PART 4: FIVE WAYS LINKEDIN CAN HELP YOU REACH 40+ PROFESSIONALS Where can you be virtually guaranteed to find affluent, educated and mature consumers online? Try LinkedIn. For companies targeting younger matures (the tip of Gen X, Gen Jones/trailing edge Baby Boomers and those in…

Part 3 of a series on marketing to Baby Boomers and beyond through social networking. PART 3: FACEBOOK PRESENTS OPPORTUNITIES FOR BOOMER, SENIOR MARKETING First, the headlines touted how Baby Boomers (especially women) were flocking to Facebook. Then, statistics showed many older social networkers flocked right off again in the spring. Despite that dip, as of July 2009 usage among users…

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:

Twitter, the current media darling, is not effective with older consumers.  Online video such as YouTube, no longer the new kid on the block, is growing its audience across all ages.  That's the bottom line from two recent reports, and useful data for marketers deciding where to invest time/money to motivate Boomers and Beyond. eMarketer shares the results of LinkedIn/Harris…

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…