Marketing to Seniors and Baby Boomers – Interview with Bronwyn White

by | May 11, 2020

Marketing to Seniors
6 min read

Last month at our Google Marketing Platform Sydney webinar we talked to Bronwyn White about marketing to seniors and baby boomers.

This multi-trillion dollar global economy is often misunderstood and underestimated by marketers. Bronwyn White, CEO of New Young Consulting shared her deep understanding of the baby boomer generation including the nuanced complexities and a complete, well-rounded understanding of the opportunities available for growth in this sector.

Find out more about marketing to seniors and baby boomers in our webinar recap: Marketing to Seniors: The Disruptive Demographic.

Marketing to seniors and baby boomers interview - percentage of marketing spendMarketing to Seniors and Baby Boomers: Interview

Are baby boomers our best opportunity for growth?

Yes!  There are more of them, they have more money and more time than any other generation.

Marketing to seniors and baby boomers interview with Bronwyn White

What are the key differences to past older generations?

  1. Our previous generations were ‘silent’.  They lived through wars, the great depression and as a result, were very conservative, frugal.  They really did live through tough times.  We are only having a small taster with COVID-19
  2. Baby boomers, on the other hand, were born disrupters.  They forged so many firsts for us.  The pill, drugs, activism.  They are quite a bit wilder and far more indulgent than their parents, bordering on hedonistic.  They really do enjoy life and greatly believe in not only spending the kid’s inheritance but their parent’s inheritance because their parents were too scared to spend any money!

Marketing to seniors and baby boomers is an opportunity due to the demographics’ size and wealth. In terms of behaviour, do you think Baby Boomers are the exception or only the precursors? In terms of online behaviour, are they setting a new norm for upcoming generations?

Our boomers are spending many many hours searching, particularly for topics they are highly engaged in.  I think time is a big factor here.  They have loads of it.  But they also consume content online in a very different way.  They actually read stuff and watch videos till the end.  Younger generations are ‘scanners’,  brutal – low attention spans.  So I couldn’t say yet if they are the precursors. I kind of think not.

Consumer spending by segment: Marketing to seniors and baby boomers interview

What are the top myths about Baby Boomers?

  1. They are not shopping online … one thing COVID-19 has done is given them the joys of online shopping.  40% in a survey I did only last week told us they will be doing more shopping online from now on.
  2. They are not internet savvy. This is so untrue.  They are among the most sophisticated searchers out there, they are spending hundreds of hours on the Internet.

Marketing to seniors interview

There is a clear disconnect between Baby boomers’ potential and the marketers’ perception of this demographic. What’s your advice to marketers to better understand this ‘senior’ audience? Is there any particular study, process, or approach you would recommend?

The main one is to never call them Senior.  No images of senior grey-haired people walking along the beach. Talk to them like everyone else – these guys have been advertised to for the last 30-40 years.  They have very high BS radars. They can smell corporate speak a mile away

Is there an industry that does better than others with seniors?

There are a few companies that are doing it well, but we have a very long way to go … I mean, we are asking a 30-year-old millennial male marketer to get into the head of a 60-year-old oftentimes.  I’d like to highlight the need for true persona marketing.

During your talk, you highlighted the fact that Baby boomers did not perceive themselves as they may appear. Their perception is subjective to how they feel rather than look. Is this characteristic specific to them? Or do you think that everyone’s perception is somehow biased?

There have been numerous studies into this area – perceived vs actual age dissonance.  We generally feel we are about 15 years younger than we are. So a 65-year-old will not relate to an image of a 65-year-old … perhaps a smart 50-year-old.

Grandpa inside and outThe Baby Boomer generation is an important marketing demographic in Australia, Europe and the US. But is there an equivalent ‘Baby boomers’ market in other parts of the world?

Yes, It is effectively the Post WW2 generation, so Japan.

Paul Hewett

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