There are approximately 79 million baby boomers in the U.S., and it’s a pretty even split between men and women. From now until 2030, roughly 10,000 of them will age into Medicare every day. To ensure your marketing communications are as effective and persuasive as possible, it’s good to understand this target’s backstory and how to write content in a way that motivates and resonates with them.
The formative years baby boomers were born during the post-war prosperity and population explosion that took place between 1946 and 1964. They were into Little League and organized sports. They came of age during turbulent times – Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam war, the sexual revolution, and drug experimentation. And they grew up glued to their TV sets. TV was their connection to incredible changes like political and campus protests and moon landings.
This generation was in stark contrast to their parents, many of whom grew up in the Great Depression or fought in WWII. Boomers had a lot more advantages and grew up focused on self-fulfillment.
Hippies evolved into yuppies Many boomers were radicals in the 60s and then yuppies in the 80s. Early on in their careers, baby boomers were driven to succeed and became workaholics (180 degrees from today’s Millennials). Their self-worth is tied to their professional achievements. This is why boomers like to be respected for all that they’ve accomplished over the years. And they are still very active, despite their aging. Since boomers began turning 55, the number of health club members above age 55 has grown by almost 519%. And 49% of them do not expect to retire until they are at least 66.*
What traits do they display? As a whole, baby boomers tend to be:
- The kind of people who will roll up their sleeves to get results
- Collaborative and inclusive
- Educated and curious about the world
- Rebellious and skeptical of authority (Especially about marketing claims)
- Still interested in changing the status quo
What’s the best way to communicate to them? After sitting through numerous Medicare focus groups, I can tell you first-hand that baby boomers are resentful of manipulation. They want straight-forward information. Not marketing fluff. They respond to a conversational tone that’s genuine and respectful. The minute they feel snowed, condescended to, or stereotyped you’ve insulted and lost them. And whatever you do, don’t refer to them as Seniors. That is a term they hate, because they think of themselves as vital and active.
How comfortable are they with technology? The older end of the baby Boomer spectrum is less comfortable with the Internet and smartphones. But the middle and younger segments are quite engaged going online to look up information or to enroll in a Medicare health plan, texting away on their smartphones and posting regularly on Facebook.
What are the most important things to remember? Boomers are coming to grips with their aging and can’t quite believe they are Medicare age. So don’t patronize them or talk to them like they’re over-the-hill. For the most part, they are still vital and active.
And while they often exhibit skepticism, baby boomers at heart are still optimistic. They changed the world in ways not many other generations have. So your content should appeal to their aspirations. Write in a friendly, conversational tone. Don’t presume you’re buds yet, though. You have to earn that privilege and respect. Write in a clear and simple manner and shoot for an 8th grade reading level. If your writing is genuine and honestly identifies with their feelings and concerns you will win them over to your brand.
Notes: *Aging and active: What the baby boomers mean for Medicare marketing
5 Things to know when writing for baby boomers
The baby boomer Generation
Boni is a Medicare specialist with over 9 years of experience marketing to Medicarians. As an Associate Creative Director, she leads the Medicare creative development team at KERN Health.