Shoppers aged 54 to 72 represent a significant portion of the total U.S. consumer market. And they have the financial wherewithal to be among the top customers of an ecommerce company. This group of potential customers can be reached with content marketing via Facebook, YouTube, and internal blogs.
The term “Baby Boomers” describes the demographic cohort born between 1946 and 1964. America’s 73 million or so Baby Boomers have significant buying power.
For example, a 2017 report from KPMG found that Baby Boomers were as likely to shop online as were Millennials (born from the early 1980s to roughly 2000). Moreover, on average Baby Boomers spent more on each transaction. Baby Boomers may also be slightly more likely to purchase from ecommerce-only retailers than Generation X (early 1960s to early 1980s) and Millennials.
Don’t Stereotype Shoppers
There is much diversity within this group — so much so that marketers should be careful not to stereotype Baby Boomers, lest they end up with meaningless generalizations. There are, nonetheless, some trends within the group that could inform content marketing campaigns for ecommerce companies.
Remember, content marketing is the act of creating, publishing, and distributing content with the goal of attracting, engaging, and retaining customers. In context, this may mean marketers will want to adjust or be mindful of Baby Boomers’ preferences as they create, publish, and distribute that content.
Facebook is popular with every generation. Baby Boomers, however, tend to favor Facebook over most other social media networks by a relatively larger margin.
Some 65 percent of Americans aged 50 to 64 (remember Baby Boomers are between 54 and 72 in 2018) and 41 percent of Americans 65 years old or older use Facebook regularly, according to the Pew Research Center’s Social Media Factsheet. In contrast, only 21 percent of U.S. adults between age 50 and age 64 use Instagram, and just 19 percent of that same group uses Twitter.
What’s more, the Baby Boomers who are on Facebook (and other social media platforms) may spend as much as 20 hours a week reading and sharing posts, according to a 2017 MediaPost commentary.
For ecommerce content marketers, these facts may simply reinforce what you already know: Facebook is an excellent distribution channel for content.
The fundamentals of content marketing apply. Create useful, informative, or entertaining content that is relevant for target customers in the Baby Boomer generation. Then distribute that content as teasers, posts, graphics, or similar on Facebook, driving traffic back to your company’s website.
About 68 percent of Americans age 50 to 64 are regular YouTube users, according to the Pew Research Center — 40 percent for folks 65 years old or older.
Like many other folks, Baby Boomers use YouTube to learn new skills or for entertainment. Unfortunately, marketers will sometimes generalize folks in a relatively older demographic. The tendency can be to think of these shoppers as less tech-savvy and thus reach them through traditional media. But this is not always the case. For content marketing aimed at Baby Boomers, don’t be afraid to use video.
YouTube is a powerful tool for reaching consumers, including those over 54.
Baby Boomers Read
An often cited report from a few years ago, suggests that about 60 percent of Baby Boomers spend time each week reading blog posts. This is good news for ecommerce marketers since a company’s blog should be the hub for its content.
Others have suggested that Baby Boomers may be relatively more likely to read ebooks, reviews, whitepapers, and other long-form text.
While a proclivity toward reading does, perhaps, help with content marketing, it does not discount the need to make it relevant and compelling.
As is the case for every generation that your company markets to, your content should bring real value. It should help your audience learn a new skill, make better decisions, or solve problems. It should inform, educate, or entertain. If you’re doing these things well, Baby Boomers — and other consumers — will likely take the time to read your company’s posts.
When we talk about marketing to a specific generation such as Baby Boomers, we are engaging in what some call generational marketing or generational segmentation. Like other forms of segmentation, this technique is meant to help us understand what a particular group of potential customers has in common so that we can better serve that group with our marketing and, ultimately, with our products and services.
The better we segment a group, the more successful we may be at creating and delivering impactful content. That is something of a warning. While it can be helpful to think about shoppers in generations, like Baby Boomers, marketers should go out of their way not to lump every Baby Boomer into the same bucket.
But this much we know: Baby Boomers, generally, use Facebook, watch videos on YouTube, and read blogs. Thus content marketing can be an effective means of reaching them.