Young, hip and driven, today’s trendsetting Millennials would never dream of comparing themselves to the ‘retirement generation’, those Baby Boomers aged 55 years and up. But, backed by big data metrics, astute marketers have found the link between two seemingly diverse markets. Using algorithms to produce competitive marketing strategies they have found a new language to speak to and convert both sets of demographics at the same time, slicing budgets in half and saving brand conversion time.
How are marketers bridging the generational gap between Senior Joe and younger Joe Junior? “They understand the individual motivations,” says Chanel MacKay, Media Director at Atmosphere Orange. “Using data for programmatic profiling, fine-grain metrics are telling us that they display similar habits and share common values. But you have to use accurate metrics if you want your online advertising campaigns to work,” counters MacKay. “This is a large market we are talking about here and using programmatic market analysis you need a well-strategised system that drills down to the hard facts when working out a campaign that targets their particular needs. Using data-driven metrics, brands are now designing campaigns for both demographics which offer a single brand experience, one that embraces both their similarities and their differences.”
What are some of their similarities? Traditionally Boomers claimed the highest level of disposable income with 4 out of 5 retailers attributing 50% of sales to this age group. Tough economies however, have seen them tightening their purse strings and searching online for bargains, sales and coupons. This has coincided with the growth in the size of Millennial numbers, with the Millennial market overtaking Boomers in size and potential spending power.
Both Millennials and Baby Boomers want quality of lifestyle, which includes conscientious behaviours, and a focus on health. Being community driven, they are always switched on and engaged with researching, purchasing, donating, volunteering, or supporting environmentally friendly or non-profit organisations. As much as 70% of Millennials will look at a firm’s commitment to community as a factor in their employment decision. And they care just as much about their own families, 63% of Millennials will consider, or already do consider themselves responsible for caring for an elderly parent.
With mom and dad connecting more online, Millennials will be feeling the competition when it comes to device sharing and usage in the home as parents highjack time for themselves online. And both demographics display similar habits in that journey. Recent research by both the Pew Research Center and Forrester Research reveals Millennials spend 59% of their time on smartphones, 35% on tablets and 70% on laptops, often multi-tasking over multiple screens while either on the go or at home watching TV. Baby boomers – that’s parents and young grandparents – display similar habits, MediaCom statistics see 79% of Baby Boomers using the internet with 65% using Facebook and more than half engaged with their community through video or supporting causes online, booking travel or searching for health conscious options to improve their lifestyle.
As part of their journey online both Millennials (82%) and Boomers (52%) rely on word of mouth marketing. They are listening socially to their friends and family when choosing a product. “Recessions and the economic downturn have distressed the Boomer buyer and like Millennials they need to make planned purchases. They are online with their respective communities searching and listening for recommendations, reviews and the best deals,” says MacKay, “ This makes digital strategies that use both traditional marketing techniques and native, multi-screen tactics able to grow trust over both generations.
“It’s a new language for brands,” says MacKay. “Blatant selling strategies aren’t going to work for this focus group. There is a migration towards native advertising from both Millennials and Boomers, they want to feel connected, they want authenticity, they want to be inspired by people and make a social impact. And they want to be informed through story.
“But both are easily distracted by other things online. You’ve got ten seconds to catch their attention,” says MacKay. “Then you need to search, find and retarget them, at the same time working with intuitive creative to keep it inspiring and with the right message formats to meet them on the right channel and platform. While Twitter has successful brand engagement for Millennials, Boomers won’t follow a brand via social media.”
“By targeting both 20-somethings and Boomers who have been around the block, it creates new opportunity for creative storytelling and optimisation of the same message across all channels that can include 2nd screen syncing. As long as you are establishing trust and offering value and making it easy for the customer to communicate with you, consumers both young and old will not only transact, but then use word of mouth to refer your brand on,” says MacKay.