Marketing to Baby Boomers: The Little Things You Can Do

by Cathy Miller

in Miller Musings

Maybe you don’t relate to baby boomers.

For some of you, boomers are your parents or grandparents. So, I understand the gap.

  • But, did you know there are almost 80 million of us in the U.S.?
  • Why should you care?

If you own a business, that’s a lot of customers.

It’s the Little Things

If boomers end up in your target market, may I suggest a few little things you can do to enhance your prospects?

#1 – Don’t ignore us because you think we aren’t tech-savvy.

Granted, some of us are more tech-savvy than others – like any generation.

Pew Research Center revealed Baby Boomers Rock Social Media and the Internet.

I wonder how Steve Jobs would have taken to the notion that he was not tech-savvy. Or Bill Gates.

  • Younger generations may rule early adoption of technology
  • Boomers increase technology’s reach

#2 – Respect the market.

Predictions are that in the next five years, baby boomers will control 70 percent of the disposable income in the U.S.

SEVENTY PERCENT

Think spending.

Another interesting study finding came from The Entrepreneurial Boom ~

  • Every single year from 1996 to 2007
  • Entrepreneurial activity was higher for Americans between the ages of 55-64
  • That was about one-third more than Americans, ages 20-34

Think mentoring.

#3 – All of your marketing should not be fine print.

I am sure my focus on the topic (pardon the pun) has to do with my recent vision challenges. And, yes, it’s a bit picky.

We were right there with you, making the jokes about reading the fine print. But, making your entire site or marketing fine print narrows your chances for grabbing our attention.

  • Yes, we know the tricks for making the text larger
  • But, wouldn’t it be friendlier to design sites with larger text?

And if you do offer a “Printer-Friendly” version of your article, how about making the font size larger than 5 -7 pt for printing? Make it user-friendly as well as printer-friendly.

Embracing the Differences

I embrace the idea that we are each unique. Labels do not define an entire generation or group of individuals.

Making little changes in our perceptions is smart business.

What do you think?

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Live…Laugh…Love

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Cartoon credit: Bitstrips 

 

 

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Wayman October 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm

As a bit over baby boomer who is tech savvy my rule is 12 pt type or bigger… I get tired of ctrl +,
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Cathy October 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm

You & me both, Anne. Then you land on the sites that have the page locked in where Ctrl+ doesn’t work…grrr…

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Ann Mullen October 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Check out this site that is aimed at boomers. I can’t read it easily and I love your remark #3. I have passed your blog along to someone who needs to know that I am not the only person blinded by the light (print).
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Cathy October 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm
    Too small and too light for me, too, Ann. Of course, I’m having cataract surgery Tuesday. :-D

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Anne Wayman October 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

Ann, pass my comment along too… and I’m exactly your market… grey on grey looks like fog.
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Lori October 5, 2012 at 7:57 am

I’m near the end of the Boomer generation. I’m tech savvy (to an extent). Entrepreneur here! And I’d advocate larger pill bottles just so the damned print could be enlarged. :)

Thanks for reminding us that we shouldn’t stereotype any group, especially the group with the bulk of the buying power.

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Cathy October 5, 2012 at 8:01 am

Now there’s a creative idea for solving the small print problem. :-D Thanks for stopping by, Lori.

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Lynn Brown October 5, 2012 at 8:55 am

Cathy: Bravo on this blog! Boomers are “THE MARKET” now & for years to come, that’s a fact! We’d be silly to ignore such a significant chunk of the marketplace! I completely agree about enlarging the font size. I don’t, necessarily, even relate it to visual issues…I just find that larger font adds to the overall readability of a blog/web site. Thanks so much for sharing such important info!

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Cathy October 5, 2012 at 9:04 am

Thanks, Lynn, for the nice compliment. I agree. Even before my latest vision problems, I did not understand the trend toward tinier and tinier print. Maybe they were testing it out for future smartphones. :-)

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend, Lynn.

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Emily October 5, 2012 at 9:10 am

Hi Cathy,

I am a genXer art dealer and online identity strategist. I create a lot of websites for people and your point on font size is well received by this reader. The good news is that trends are indicating that websites are rapidly going to move into video with less text anyway. Also the cluttered visual-sphere has a reaction of sites getting more minimal with less text, presented in extra large size (14pt-20pt). We all suffer from small text in a world that has so much content to consume and everyone wants their message to stand out.

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Cathy October 5, 2012 at 9:14 am

Hi Emily: Good to see you here. I hope you’re right about the trend. Somehow I keep stumbling on the sites with the teeny font size. I am also one who can’t stand a lot of clutter on the screen, and you’re right, it plays into information overload.

Thank you for sharing your insight, Emily.

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Lisa October 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

I’m at the last of the boomers generation and I can’t stand tiny type or light typefaces on websites. Same goes for any printed material. I love 14 pt. fonts :)
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Cathy October 6, 2012 at 4:43 am

Hi Lisa. Sorry, I had to rescue you from the spam folder. You bring up another very good example – light typeface. No matter how you enlarge it, it still is difficult to read.

Thanks for chiming in, Lisa.

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Martha Giffen October 5, 2012 at 9:41 am

Gotta love the boomers because “they” are “us!” My clients all look like me so mostly ARE boomers. We’re not headed out to pasture yet, however it would be wise to invest in the businesses that will be booming sooner than later (assisted living, nursing home, etc,)
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Cathy October 5, 2012 at 9:51 am

See, I knew there was a reason I liked you, Martha. you look like me. :-D Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Luana Spinetti October 6, 2012 at 2:16 am

Cathy,

I can tell you, as a member of the young generation, that extra-small font sizes are a source of problems for us ‘kids’, too: they mean extra work for the eyes and headaches (or worse, migrains) hit hard sooner or later. Many students and young workers soon wear prescription glasses because of this.

It’s not healthy. For anyone.

Just google ‘font size too small’ and count the number of requests to use bigger fonts on several websites. ;)

~ Luana S.
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Cathy October 6, 2012 at 4:40 am

See, Luana, that is a perfect example of why we shouldn’t categorize people. You’re right. Small font is small font – regardless of your age. :-)

Like I said, it tends to be a sensitive subject for me right now with my vision problem.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on the subject, Luana.

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Kristen October 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Not a baby boomer myself, but I work with many who are basically geniuses with technology. I think that there is a range of tech abilities in any generation, as you mentioned. Not a fan of small fonts either!
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Cathy October 7, 2012 at 6:55 am

Thanks for your “view” on the topic, Kristen. ;-) Now if those using small font would read our large comments. :-)

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Sharon Hurley Hall October 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I love it when I can read a site without squinting. You make some excellent points here, Cathy.
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Cathy October 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Thanks, Sharon. Large font lovers unite! :-D

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