This is probably the hundredth article you’ve seen about marketing to millennials—this month—and I apologize in advance. But, hopefully, we can look at the topic from a new angle.
We all know that millennials are a huge group of consumers with major spending power, but has all the attention become too much? I think yes. Anytime I see the whole world focused on a single thing, my tendency is to look for opportunities in the opposite direction. Our current millennial-obsessed scenario, for example, opens a great opportunity: many companies are so focused on this generation, that they’ve forgotten about the baby boomers. For your reference, Pew Research Center defines baby boomers as being born between 1946 and 1964, making them between the ages of 54 to 72.
While your competitors are all jockeying for millennials’ attention, here are five reasons why I think you should give boomers your serious consideration.
1.BOOMERS OUTSPEND MILLENIALS
Information from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that baby boomers’ average household spending is thousands of dollars more per year than millennials’, and they are more likely to consume food at home rather than eating out. That means they’re buying more at grocery stores. In fact, boomers may spend over $2,000 more per year at grocery than their millennial counterparts.
Of course, millennials comprise a larger population, and there’s common reasoning that “millennials have a lifetime of shopping ahead of them.” But, if you have one marketing dollar to spend, it’s worth considering the positive effect it could have on your bottom line immediately when spent on boomers.
2. BOOMERS MAKE MEDIA MATTER
Millennials may be the largest generation, but they’re also the most marketed-to. These smartphone natives are assailed by constant marketing messages every day—on their phones, tablets, and laptops; online videos and conventional commercials, digital ads, social ads, and ads plastered on every exposed square-inch of their environment. They’re marketed to at work, on their commute, and at home. Yet, according to Forbes, an incredible 84 percent of millennials don’t trust advertising. So, when we market to millennials, we’re competing in an extremely noisy environment. Even if we do get through, there’s a large chance our audience won’t listen!
Boomers encounter lots of marketing, too. But, Nielsen reports only five percent of advertising is geared toward boomers—five percent! Add that incredible statistic to the fact that boomers are more restrained users of technology and still engage regularly with traditional medias like TV, terrestrial radio, and magazines. Their trip to the mailbox is still a meaningful ritual, as is their time spent with the daily newspaper. Clearly, it’s much easier to reach boomers and be seen and heard.
3.Millennial-Style Disruptions Match Boomers’ Needs, Too
It’s easy to look at all the disruptions happening in grocery and think of them as millennial-style advancements: grocery delivery, pre-made meals, personal shoppers, online ordering...but even though older Americans may be slower to adopt new technologies, their needs sometimes push them into new experiences.
Consider aging boomers who are encountering new challenges in their lives but want to retain their lifestyles and independence for as long as possible. These could be challenges like reduced mobility, less confidence in driving, or even something as simple as difficulty carrying heavy grocery bags. Options like pre-made meals, online ordering, and grocery deliveries are all on-target with older consumers’ needs. So, forward-thinking investment in new technologies and retail advancements don’t exclude baby boomers. Whether due to convenience or necessity, boomers will engage with new products, services, and technology if we make it easier for them.
4. Changes in Boomer Behavior Create Opportunity
Boomer women are cooking less. Boomer men are shopping more. After a lifetime of following old-fashioned norms, all bets are off. Women who have cooked for their families for a lifetime are claiming a much-deserved break. Meanwhile, men who haven’t seen the inside of a grocery store in decades are now venturing back, because either they have time now that they’re retired, or they must as they’ve become caregivers, widowed, or their wives have declared, “I quit—your turn!”
These are perfect examples of marketable moments. Women cooking less opens opportunities for more convenience through value-added produce, meal kits, prepared meals, and other ready-to-eat options, such as in the deli. And boomer men venturing back into the grocery store can use our guidance in-store, whether that means enticing packaging, point-of-sale marketing, in-store consulting, or helpful printed materials that will lead them to our products.
5. Boomers Are Influencers
A generation ago, we might have thought of people in their 50s to 70s as, well, old. But baby boomers defy those outdated stereotypes. They’re active and engaged. They might not be digital natives, but they’re growing much more comfortable with digital technology. Dare I say it? They’re cool.
And millennials have a special relationship with their boomer parents and grandparents. They grab lunch together, chat on the phone frequently, and often still live together. So, when you’re influencing a baby boomer, you may also be influencing their millennial children and grandchildren at the same time.
I’m not saying forget about millennials—far from it. But, I also know an opportunity when I see it. And today, there’s big opportunity with our friends, the baby boomers.