By: Nicole Hudson
Whether you are selling a car, own a business providing products or services to professionals and home owners, or even looking to award a franchise business opportunity as a growing franchise brand, the one thing you all have in common is a very powerful buyer persona you’re targeting, Boomers.
David Bernard, shares on U.S.News and World Report Money that “between 2000 and 2010, the number of people age 65 to 84 in the U.S. grew by 3.3 million. While 13 percent of Americans are currently age 65 or older, that proportion will jump to 18 percent by 2030. The current 40 million senior citizens will balloon to 89 million by 2050. These numbers and their impact are awe-inspiring and a bit frightening. Baby boomers entering retirement age will dramatically change today’s business and lifestyle landscape.”
How do Boomers Determine Value?
Coming of Age, a consulting firm specializing in older consumers has published research that boomers have more complex ways of determining value than younger consumers. Value determination by older consumers tends to be an existentialist exercise whereby they combine soul (spiritual) values as well as mind (intellect) and body (tangible) values into the value determination process. Not only does an item purchased symbolize some aspect of the consumer’s being, the entire purchase experience can be a projection of the consumer’s whole being.For example, a person with a passionate concern for the homeless may more likely purchase a product from a company with a program benefiting the homeless. To that consumer, the product has a high Metavalues index, that is, an element of value unrelated to the product performance. Appraisal of Metavalues takes place mostly at subliminal levels of the mind because Metavalues tend to reflect deeply embedded, “background” emotional needs. Younger consumers tend to reflect more transparent motivations. After a mature consumer develops strong interest in a discretionary product purchase and determines that a brand has acceptable holistic value (basic plus Metavalues) affordability can easily become more important than price in the final decision.
How do Franchise Brands Connect with Boomers?
The most important stage of connecting with a boomer in any industry whether it is in a B2B or B2C capacity is to understand why they are making the purchase decisions and if any influencers are a part of the decision. The easiest and most effective way to build a marketing program, supporting content, messaging and distribution strategy is to develop buyer persona’s.
- What is a buyer persona and why would I need one? A buyer persona is a profile of a fictional buyer, based on real-life data and characteristics that helps you to understand who a prospect is but also what keeps them up at night, how do they spend their time and how they like to buy. The best reason for developing buyer personas is that it gives you a target for all prospect/customer facing activities. When you speak the customer’s language (both figuratively and literally) and address their needs it positions your products as relevant and worthy of their attention.
- What are the benefits and criticisms of developing buyer personas? The benefits of good buyer personas are more effective lead generation and customer retention. Knowing your customer makes all the difference in the world when it comes to creating compelling content and offers. The most common criticism of personas is that they aren’t worth the effort. This criticism is a double edged sword though as poorly developed anything (buyer personas being no exception) will not generate results. The other edge being if you want to develop personas that actually inform your lead gen, marketing or retention efforts you need to invest the time and energy in getting them right.
- What is the most important part of developing good buyer personas? The most important thing to remember with developing buyer personas is that you need actionable insight. To simply state the obvious or connect a customer to an idea that is interesting but ultimately hard to leverage doesn’t help. For instance the fact that an owner/manager is time starved is not a terribly useful piece of information. As well it may be interesting to determine your most valuable customers enjoy home renovation but if you can’t use that insight to inform your marketing activities than it is isn’t of any use. I am not suggesting you discount any information but keep in mind not everything is useful.
- What are the most common mistakes made when developing buyer personas? The most common mistake made when developing a buyer persona is to make it up. By make it up I mean to develop a persona that is not rooted in some form of research, and validation. To this end you have to actually go out and talk to people. Not just existing customers but also some prospects and your sales and marketing folks. Once you have drafted a persona you also must validate with people in the know. A single person’s version of the buyer, no matter how informed they may be, is unlikely to give you an accurate view of your target audience.
After you have developed your buyer persons’s you’re ready to move forward on campaign creative, targeted messaging, content development and both the organic and paid distribution strategy that will connect your content with boomers. There are many conflicting strategies on boomers consume content and engage with marketing.. Mike Volpe, the CMO of HubSpot wrote an amazing article today for Media Post that explains how Inbound Marketing and digital engagement is fast becoming a great way to connect with boomers.
Some brands are quick to assume that Boomers are immune to inbound marketing because they’re not digital natives. The reality is, this generation is becoming more and more present online; according to Google, 83% of Boomers use the internet to find information before any other medium. Sounds pretty savvy to me. With people over the age of 50 controlling 70% of disposable income in the United States, marketers should be thinking about how they can deliver a meaningful experience to Boomer buyers online.
– Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer, HubSpot
By: Mike Volpe, CMO HubSpot
Article First Published: Media Post http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/234153/the-new-way-to-connect-with-boomers-inbound-marke.html
Twenty years ago, brands treated consumers like a captive audience. A dinner interrupted by cold calls, morning radio playing more ads than music, and piles of unsolicited mail finding its way into the mailbox are pretty familiar memories for Boomers. Back then, the rules of marketing were that there were no rules; advertisers have put profit before people since the Madison Avenue days. Until recently, when brands realized that if they wanted to stick around, they’d need to ditch the old playbook.
Humans have dramatically changed the way they shop and buy since the Boomer generation was the apple of every advertiser’s eye. Consumers today have grown up with digital tools at their fingertips that give them the power to mute interruptive marketing for good. Not surprisingly, marketing is finally starting to take a different form. Now, blogs and websites have replaced brochures and storefronts, and social media is key in connecting with your buyers. We call this new way of reaching your audience inbound marketing. At its core, inbound is about pulling people in with valuable online content and creating a personalized, helpful brand experience throughout the buying process.
But there’s a problem. Some brands are quick to assume that Boomers are immune to inbound marketing because they’re not digital natives. The reality is, this generation is becoming more and more present online; according to Google, 83% of Boomers use the internet to find information before any other medium. Sounds pretty savvy to me. With people over the age of 50 controlling 70% of disposable income in the United States, marketers should be thinking about how they can deliver a meaningful experience to Boomer buyers online. Here are a few things for marketers to think about:
People joke that older generations hardly know how to text, let alone use a smartphone. Turns out, the joke’s on them; Boomers aren’t just connecting with their family and friends on mobile, but with brands. Forty-nine percent of people over the age of 45 have made a purchase on their smartphone and even more use mobile devices to gather information about a product or company. Marketers today need to prioritize optimizing their site for mobile in order to leave a valuable impression.
Social platforms may be flooded with memes, viral videos, and Jennifer Lawrence, but that doesn’t mean Millennials are the only people online. In the past four years, the number of Boomers using social media has tripled to 43%, according to Pew Research Center. The great thing about social media marketing is that you can segment your efforts; for example, Boomers spend most of their time on Facebook compared to other networks. Focus on customizing your social media content based on where Boomers are spending time.
Don’t Forget Video
Video content is an effective inbound marketing tool today. Especially when it comes to reaching the Boomer generation. Over 50% of Boomers view and share videos online, with YouTube being the most popular platform. Posting video clips about your products, company, or just for fun is an engaging way to start a dialogue and share information. Whether you use an iPhone or a professional videographer,make sure you’re creating videos that are relevant and interesting to your 50 and over audience.
All too often marketers overlook the Boomer generation and set their sights on younger, digitally fluent buyers. This not only neglects a valuable audience, but the growth of your business. Instead, develop an inbound marketing strategy that keeps Boomers’ tech savvy in mind to connect with this generation in a meaningful way.