What kind of assumptions does your company make when analyzing its target market? Has your company ever made a broad generalization when profiling age demographics?
We’re quick to make automatic judgements based on preconceived notions. It’s human nature. Plus, it’s easier to cast a wide net and sort consumers into categories.
It can be useful to build target profiles based on age groups – but it’s not always going to be accurate. It would be naive of a marketer to assume otherwise. Millennials can like Frank Sinatra and Baby Boomers can cruise around on Bird scooters. Stereotypes can get you in trouble if you buy into them too much.
With that in mind, here are six myths about age demographics and marketing.
Myth #1: Don’t bother advertising to aging consumers on digital platforms. They aren’t interested.
Although less tech-savvy as a whole than younger generations, Baby Boomers still consume digital content and use mobile devices for product research and purchases.
Per a survey by eMarketer, roughly six out of ten Baby Boomers made a purchase via phone, tablet, or computer in the last year. In other words, most boomers take advantage of the Internet’s convenience when shopping. With that in mind, it’s just as important to recognize which digital platform Baby Boomers prefer – the mighty computer.
If you’re looking to target older demographics, consider their preference for search engines when browsing/researching and Facebook as a social media platform.
Myth #2: Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z are the only generations worth targeting now.
Baby Boomers are still...well...booming with 70+ million people.
More importantly, from a consumer standpoint, Baby Boomers are estimated to control about 70% of total disposable income in the United States. That’s a serious amount of purchasing power to simply ignore. On top of that, with life expectancy rates trending higher – this generation looks to remain prominent for years to come.
This longevity can be attributed to active, healthier lifestyles – which is driven by better food choices, increased emphasis on exercise, and healthcare advancements.
Myth #3: Most Baby Boomers have smartphones – we should shift all our attention to mobile-marketing.
Half of this statement is true – about 80% of Americans have smartphones. However, that doesn’t mean everyone who owns a smartphone uses it for online shopping.
Per the same eMarketer survey, only 36% of respondents older than 55 years had made a purchase via a mobile app in the last year. Mobile advertising and marketing may be growing as a whole – but, if you want to target older generations, it’s important to recognize mobile isn’t a one size fits all approach. Baby Boomers prefer using their computer – more specifically search engines – to conduct research and make purchases.
Myth #4: Millennials are financially better off than their predecessors.
Quite the opposite.
According to Deloitte’s research, Millennials’ financial profiles have been significantly declining. The average net worth of consumers under the age of 35 has decreased by 34% since 1996 – from $12,000 to $8,000. Especially when you incorporate inflation, that’s a scary figure. In other words, Millennials may be an attractive demographic in terms of longevity – but they’re less financially stable than older generations, which means less buying power.
Myth #5: Younger generations don’t care about brands.
According to a survey by Deloitte, younger generations tend to believe that brands influence who they are and how they’re perceived. To put it simply: they do care.
But more importantly, companies with brands that are associated with social responsibility and giving back to the community are more likely to influence younger generations. Per another survey, when asked if brands should take public stands on social values, 74% of respondents between the ages of 22 and 37 said yes – brands should. Not only that, 61% of respondents stated that they’d make a brand recommendation to a friend if that brand aligned with the respondent’s social values.
Brand expectations are growing – and the trends suggest the importance of community involvement will only continue to rise.
Myth #6: Older generations don’t use social media.
Social media use is prevalent across the age spectrum. However, social media tends to be used differently by age demographic.
Younger generations are more likely to utilize social media for brand engagement and community involvement like tagging a favorite sports team or adult beverage company’s account in a tweet, trying to solicit a response. Or tagging an airline in a post after a negative flight experience.
On the other hand, older generations are more likely to use social media – particularly Facebook – for product/service reviews and testimonials. Social media marketing is critical – but keep these patterns in mind when organizing your marketing approach.