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Traditional Media Top Purchase Influence for Baby Boomers

by Brian Colling - February 01, 2016

There have been a variety of reports recently that have urged marketers to focus more on Baby Boomers.  This demographic tends to be passed over for the Millennials.  In fact, there was a recent Forrester Research report that found that the older the shoppers are, the more promising the demographic is.  Baby Boomers will soon be the generation that is responsible for 70% of the disposable income.  The question then is what is the best way to advertise to them?

Which Media is Best According to Baby Boomers?

A recent MarketingCharts study investigated the purchase influence for Baby Boomers with a Boomer being described as an individual between the age of 50 and 68.  They discovered that more than 30% of the Boomers who responded to the survey reported that direct mail was an influence for them in purchases of either a service or a product within the previous 6 months.  Interestingly enough, this was also the most commonly cited influencer of purchases among 16 others that were identified and this put direct mail ahead of online consumer reviews and word of mouth advertising.

Direct Mail by Generation

One might expect (and rightly so) that there would be considerable differences in the influence of this type of advertising throughout the various generations.  Silents (ages 69 and over) and Baby Boomers are significantly more likely than Millennials (ages 18 – 34) and Gen Xers (ages 35 – 49) to admit to direct mail as an influence for purchases.  Additionally, there was a Gallup survey that found that Baby Boomers and Silents also say that they anticipate checking the mail daily while younger generations are less likely to.  The numbers here were 56% and 36%.  That particular survey covered a variety of types of mail that included greeting cards and letters.  It is also worth making note that those who anticipated checking the mail are also the ones who were likely to have positive reactions to fliers, advertising cards and catalogs than those who didn’t relish the thought of snail mail.

In regards to advertising, Boomers were less likely to base their purchases on the influence of print ads, TV and other types of traditional advertising.  However, search ads remain a strong force in their influence.  In fact, when it comes to search engine ads, Boomers are just as likely to base their purchases on these influences as Millennials and both of these generations far outweighed the Silents and Gen Xers. If targeting boomers is a tactic for your media strategy, it would behoove you to consider a direct mail campaign combined with a search ad campaign along with re-targeting. This combination will have the biggest impact and positive results for your business.

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