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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Are Digital Marketers Ignoring Boomer Bonanza?

The baby boomers — all 77 million of them — spend more time and money online than any other demographic. And they have considerable clout in the marketplace. But, a new report says, many boomers feel that they’re being ignored by marketers.

Marketers do so at their own expense. The Internet and digital media have become an essential for this group as they try on new roles as empty-nesters, step-parents, grandparents and caregivers, according to eMarketer. More than three-quarters (78.2 percent) of this cohort is online, nearly 60 million adults who control more than $2 trillion in annual spending.

Retirement — if and when it happens — now comes around 70, turning 65 into just another tick of the odometer.

“The baby boomers grew up being chased by marketers and advertisers that tailored products and brand to appeal to them,” said Lisa E. Phillips, author of eMarketer’s new report,“Digital Lives of Boomers: Reaching Them Online.” “Now the median age of this cohort is 55, and many boomers feel as if they have dropped off many marketers’ radar.”

If you think digital addiction is for kids, you should take a closer look at the browsing patterns of their elders. Boomers spend more time and money online than any other demographic. Younger boomers between 47 and 55 spent an average of 39.3 hours per month last year, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Older boomers between 56 and 65 didn’t lag much, clocking 36.5 hours a month.

They’re also not shy about clicking the “buy” button online. Boomers spent an average of about $650 online over a three-month period last year, according to Forrester Research, compared with $581 by Generation X (ages 35 to 46) and $429 by Millennials (ages 18 to 34).

But though they are a lucrative target for marketers, boomers wear their ages on the sleeves. Marketers who want to include them in their messaging would be wise to make their efforts ageless, according to eMarketer.

“Boomers are immediately turned off by association with old age, infirmity and decline,” Phillips said.

For marketers, she said, this often means turning a negative — such as fears about failing health — into a positive, such as showing the benefits of products that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.