What about social media? What new opportunities does it represent for Boomer marketing? What are Boomers doing online?
According to the 2011 Digital Future Report from the Center for the Digital Future said “The perception is that Americans over 50 only dabble on the Internet, but we are finding that they are increasingly spending time online becoming involved in robust Internet activities, such as online communities (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). In specific areas, there is often little difference in use of online technology between Boomer and older users and some of the youngest users.”
Those that discount social media – assuming that Boomer and older customers fail to use it – are making a big blunder.
Boomers are the group that transitioned from writing letters to writing email. We integrate the quality of personal contact with the efficiency of blast broadcasting. Our social contact leads to social media which leads to sale. You hook a Boomer and you’re hooked for life.
- 93% regularly or occasionally use the Internet to research products prior to purchase.
- 46% say searches are triggered by traditional advertising, news article or friend.
- 45% are prompted by television or other broadcast media.
The following are key findings from the study comparing Internet users over 50 years old to those under 50:
Participation in online communities
- 58% of Boomers log in to their online community daily or several times a day, compared to 47% of members under 20.
- Action: Create value-oriented customer loyalty programs. Build a relationship with your baby boomer customers by creating an interactive environment where you, the Realtor, LISTEN as much or more than you talk. This yields a learning experience for all.
- 36% of Boomers said their social activism has increased since they began participating in online communities for social causes, compared to 29% of members under 20.
- Action: The era of Boomers over flows with bootstrappers who will white knight or contribute time, talent and treasure to events in your area that merit attention. The immensity of social assistance programs invariably leaves cracks in which the innocent find themselves trapped. Tell everyone about your favorite social awareness program.
Browse in retail stores, then buy online
- Users in both the 50+ and under 50 groups have similar online shopping habits.
- 68% of Boomers say they sometimes or often browse in retail stores and then buy online, compared to 72% of users under 50.
- Action: How many real estate web sites are there that allow buyers and sellers to search for and compare properties? Why are you adding another? Boomers don’t want that. The way to a Boomer’s heart is through customer service. Break out your Excel and create a worksheet that points right at the value deal. Boomers are at a stage in their lives where emotion can steer the decision (like me buying a 2001 BMW 740il off a showroom 2200 miles away site unseen) so while your “review of the numbers” might not dissuade their opinion, the fact that you gift-wrapped this service for them will be well appreciated.
Importance of online information
- 85% of users under 20 compared to 76% of Boomers say the Internet is an important or very important source of information. However, the percentage of Boomers who state this is up 55% since 2006.
- Action: Measure all your activities, not just your successes. Even in the ugliest deal somebody wins and that winner is going to say “Good Job”. OK, but, if you don’t know why you failed, then how are you going to prevent failing?
Importance of online communities
- 70% of Boomers and 68% of people under 20 say their online community is very important or extremely important to them.
- Action: You’ve created an online community based on loyalty and listening. Great! Now call and visit the 20% who are motivating the community. Their diversity is a treasure of “How To”. People love to share stories of success. What if 80% of your biz tax write-offs were spent on these 20%? Wow!
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The 182 million people younger than 50 spent $3.3 trillion last year — up 6% in the past 10 years. Spending by the 116 million U.S. consumers age 50 and older was $2.9 trillion last year — up 45% in the same time period. Also, during the next 20 years, Boomers will inherit an estimated $14 trillion to $20 trillion.
Social media relationships with boomers will bring this wealth to you.