Baby Boomers

Millennials Pose Unique Marketing Challenges – And Familiar Ones

Millennials, as children of the digital era, pose unique marketing challenges. However, you are more likely to engage them with online video ads and social media with videos. That said, it never hurts to know you target audience and recognize they are a moving target.

Millennials, as children of the digital era, pose unique marketing challenges. However, you are more likely to engage them with online video ads and social media with videos. That said, it never hurts to know you target audience and recognize they are a moving target.

Millennials are a moving target, so it helps to understand as much as you can about their demographics. Salesforce did the homework for you.  https://www.salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/best-practices/millenial-marketing-strategy/#

Millennials are a moving target, so it helps to understand as much as you can about their demographics. Salesforce did the homework for you. https://www.salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/best-practices/millenial-marketing-strategy/#

Marketing to Millennials is admittedly a challenge. They are as interested in car-sharing as car-buying. Owning a home is less important than being close to the action. They don’t read newspapers or watch commercial television. Their choice of channels seems to change regularly.

To get a better handle on Millennials, a real estate company commissioned a survey and discovered online video advertising is the best vehicle to engage this target audience. Not exactly a eureka moment, but it does confirm – at least for now – that online video still holds appeal.

Online video ads are not a silver bullet. According to the survey, 21 percent of the 1,100 Millennials interviewed said they engage with online video ads, contrasted to only 11 percent of people 39 years or older. Fourteen percent of Millennial respondents said they engage with social media ads with videos.

It’s worth noting, the survey indicated 31 percent of Millennial respondents say they don’t engage with online ads. More than four in 10 older adults say the same thing. That suggests Millennials are simply hard to engage with ads anywhere online.

What the survey underscores is the value of visual content. The second highest source of online engagement (17%) is social media ads with pictures. They attract the highest percentage (14%) of older adults, too.

Search engine ads work better to engage older adults (12%) than Millennials (9%). Display ads on websites and native ads don’t work that well with younger or older adults, based on survey results.

Tommy O’Shaughnessy of Clever Real Estate, which commissioned the survey, says, “In many ways, YouTube has assumed the functional role of television for Millennials. According to an eMarketer study, Millennials watch more digital video than traditional video content, making YouTube an incredibly important tool for marketers.”

He adds, “While Facebook is still the dominant social media platform and reaches the widest audience, the preferences of younger Millennials have begun shifting toward YouTube and Instagram, where video content is more readily available and more fundamental to the experience. However, despite the recent Millennial migration away from Facebook, ads run on the social networking megalith are still more likely to lead to a purchase than ads run on any other platform.” The migration of Millennials from Facebook appears to be tied to growing concerns about its privacy policies.

One nugget buried in the survey is that Millennials are 54 percent more likely than older adults to buy a product suggested by a social media celebrity. That may be the byproduct of older adult unfamiliarity with most social media celebrities.

It may not set apart Millennials from other adults, but the survey underscores they like to laugh and learn at the same time. “Marketing campaigns that provide value to their audience through funny and informative video content stand the best chance of engaging their viewers,” O’Shaughnessy says. “Humorous content is the most likely to strike a chord with millennials (44%), while informative content comes in second (30%).”

“Amusing and informative advertisements elicit good responses from Millennials and Baby Boomers, with the latter demonstrating a slight preference for informative ads,” he explains. “However, marketers need to exercise caution when trying to grab their audience’s attention with a shocking ad, as these performed abysmally across both generations – only 4% of Millennials and 3% of Baby Boomers stated that unsettling ads resonate with them.”

While Millennials, children of the digital age, pose unique marketing challenges, they are still part of the human race. “Although this generation has its idiosyncrasies, Millennial marketing is not such a hard nut to crack,” O’Shaughnessy argues. “Millennials crave content that feels valuable, honest, personal and sticks out from the rest of their feeds. The best way to accomplish this is to create video marketing campaigns that utilize influencers and provide funny, informative content to a brand’s audience.”

 

Older Voters to Continue to Set US Political Agenda

Longer lifespans have many ramifications for housing, health care and mobility. They also have ramifications on US elections as the number of older adults continues to grow, packing even more clout on influencing political agendas by both Republicans and Democrats and perhaps deciding who will face off in the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump.

Longer lifespans have many ramifications for housing, health care and mobility. They also have ramifications on US elections as the number of older adults continues to grow, packing even more clout on influencing political agendas by both Republicans and Democrats and perhaps deciding who will face off in the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump.

The graying of America isn’t news, but the ramifications of a larger, older population on US elections may be underappreciated and undervalued in political campaign strategies, including for the 2020 presidential election.

Michael Hobbes, writing for Huffpost, says, “The US electorate is the oldest it’s ever been and will keep getting older for at least four more decades. Voters over retirement age will continue to dominate US politics until at least 2060.”

Not only are there more older people in America, Hobbes says there are more older registered voters who actually vote. Older voters take a different set of issues and perspectives to the ballot box than younger generations. And older voters are whiter and wealthier than younger cohorts.

“Older voters have unique characteristics and specific interests that transcend the Democratic-Republican divide,” Hobbes says. “From their economic circumstances to their demographic makeup, the concerns of older voters are only going to become more prominent as the baby boom generation enters retirement.” 

That’s why, he adds, politicians don’t like to cross older voters on issues such as Medicare and Social Security. In less obvious ways, they also recognize older Americans are largely white, traditional in their social views, more comfortable with the status quo and wealthier than the generations that follow them.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is one of seven declared or soon-to-declare candidates running for president who is 65 years or older. President Trump is 72. Based on current polls, if Joe Biden enters the race as expected, he will be the Democratic frontrunner. Biden is 76. His closest challenger is Bernie Sanders who is 77.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is one of seven declared or soon-to-declare candidates running for president who is 65 years or older. President Trump is 72. Based on current polls, if Joe Biden enters the race as expected, he will be the Democratic frontrunner. Biden is 76. His closest challenger is Bernie Sanders who is 77.

These tensions are evident in the mix of Democratic presidential candidates that stretch from young, fresh faces touting universal health care, free college tuition and transformational climate change policies to older, more seasoned pols who talk about preserving Social Security and Medicare and pursuing progressive legislation at a more measured pace. 

Young progressives point to the energy and new voters they are bringing to the Democratic Party. But in raw numbers, eligible voters who are 65 or older already outnumber Millennials and the gap is projected to grow larger over the next four presidential election years. That could heavily influence whether a fresh, younger face or a familiar, older face wins the Democratic nomination after the gauntlet of primary elections. Almost half of the declared or likely candidates for president in 2020 are 65 or older. 

Older voters have historically been more Republican than Democratic. Even though that is changing overall and especially in highly blue states, older adults as an age group are more moderate in their viewpoints. They tend to see themselves as the people who will have to pay for whatever policies are enacted. That reticence is almost hard-wired into the political process, according to Hobbes, and affects both Democratic and Republican policymaking. 

“To a great extent, older voters are still setting the agenda,” says Andrea Campbell, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology political scientist. “They’re incredibly important to both parties’ coalitions. Politicians remain reluctant to run afoul of older voters.”

As AARP bluntly said in its April 30, 2018 bulletin, “If candidates want to win, they better pay attention to the issues that matter to Americans 50-plus.”

 

Younger Voters Eclipsed Older Voters in 2016 Election

 The 2016 election marked a milepost as Millennials and Gen Xers cast more ballots than their older counterparts, which should signal new campaign and policy approaches to younger voters who are better educated, more secular and less reliable to cast ballots.

 The 2016 election marked a milepost as Millennials and Gen Xers cast more ballots than their older counterparts, which should signal new campaign and policy approaches to younger voters who are better educated, more secular and less reliable to cast ballots.

The 2016 general election will go down in history for a lot of things, including the first time Millennial and Gen X voters eclipsed older voters.

Based on an analysis of Census Bureau data conducted by Pew Research, 69.6 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 51 voted in the 2016 election. Baby Boomers and older generations cast 67.9 million ballots.

More young people become eligible to vote while older people die or emigrate. While the result isn’t surprising, it marks a milepost in US demography when younger, next-generation voters become a majority, which will influence how political campaigns are focused.

Conventional wisdom is that younger voters lean Democratic. Numbers bear that out, but also is a hint that a chunk of Millennials are more conservative than Gen X or Baby Boomers were at the same age. It also may be true, as evidenced by strong support among younger voters for the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, that younger Democrats are more liberal than their older counterparts.

NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben reports they may be even deeper polarization among Millennials than previous generations. If so, that could complicate any efforts to lower the volume on political discourse and exert more energy looking for common ground.

In addition to greater political polarization, Millennials overall have fewer religious ties and are better educated. They are less white and more Latino. There is also a question about their motivation to vote. Gen Xers and Millennials as age cohorts outgrew Boomers and older generations before 2016, but voter participation rates lagged behind. Pew found only half of Millennials voted in the 2016 election compared to two-thirds for older cohorts, which may have played a role in tipping the presidential election to Donald Trump.

What bears watching is how Millennials settle in as voters. Exit polls in the 2012 presidential election showed GOP challenger Mitt Romney beating President Obama by 2 percentage points among whites ages 18 to 29 with at least a four-year college degree. Four years later, Hillary Clinton beat Trump among college-educated white people by 15 percentage points. Trump scored well with young white voters who identified as evangelicals or lived in rural areas or states with large white majorities. Clinton’s large margin of votes from younger votes was canceled out when many Millennials lost interest after the presidential primaries or voted for third-party candidates.

The Overlooked Plight of America’s 'Middle Child'

Generation X gave us all sorts of pop culture treasures, like Nirvana, Molly Ringwald and Ethan Hawke. But sandwiched between the Baby Boomer generation and the fast rising Millennials of today, Generation X has become America's forgotten middle child. 

Generation X gave us all sorts of pop culture treasures, like Nirvana, Molly Ringwald and Ethan Hawke. But sandwiched between the Baby Boomer generation and the fast rising Millennials of today, Generation X has become America's forgotten middle child. 

As Baby Boomers fade into the sunset and Millennials are on the ascendancy, members of Generation X feel overlooked. And at least one Gen Xer is mad as hell about it.

Mat Honan, a card-carrying member of Gen X, launched a rant on Tumblr that summed up his disgust with whining by Boomers and Millennials. “First generation to do worse than their parents? Been there. Done that.”

"Generation X is tired of your sense of entitlement. Generation X also graduated during a recession. It had even s#*#*#*# jobs, and actually had to pay for its own music. (At least, when music mattered most to it.) Generation X is used to being f#*#*# over. It lost its meager savings in the dot-com bust. Then came George Bush, and 9/11, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Generation X bore the brunt of all that. And then came the housing crisis.

"Generation X wasn't surprised. Generation X kind of expected it.

"Generation X is a journeyman. It didn't invent hip hop, or punk rock, or even electronica (it's pretty sure those dudes in Kraftwerk are Boomers), but it perfected all of them, and made them its own. It didn't invent the Web, but it largely built the damn thing. Generation X gave you Google and Twitter and blogging; Run DMC and Radiohead and Nirvana and Notorious B.I.G. Not that it gets any credit.

"But that's okay. Generation X is used to being ignored, stuffed between two much larger, much more vocal, demographics. But whatever! Generation X is self-sufficient. It was a latchkey child. Its parents were too busy fulfilling their own personal ambitions to notice any of its trophies, which were admittedly few and far between because they were only awarded for victories, not participation."

It's hard to believe 60 million people could be ignored, but Generation X has become known as the Forgotten Generation. The Pew Research Center has referred to Generation X as America’s neglected “middle child.”

Even though a Gen Xer occupies the White House, this generation lacks its own distinctive identity.

A Bloomberg Business report last year said it is a generation that has grown up and become grumpy.

"The members of Generation X have plenty to be grumpy about. For starters, no one talks about them anymore. It’s all Millennials all the time. There’s another reason Americans born between 1965 and 1980 are gloomy: Gen Xers are in even worse shape financially than the baby boomers who preceded them or the millennials who followed.

"Sure, many Boomers haven’t saved enough for retirement. And Millennials are squeezed by high student-loan debt. But Gen Xers are still paying off student loans while raising families on wages that have barely budged in recent years. They have more debt than other age groups and are more pessimistic about ever being able to afford to retire, according to many surveys.

"Almost 40 percent say they 'don’t at all feel financially secure,' and 38 percent have more debt than savings, more than any other generation, according to a recent survey of 5,474 Americans by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. On average, people in their 40s had saved $62,087 in 401(k) retirement plans at the end of 2013, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute. That means Gen Xers who plan to retire at 65 have a considerable way to go to accumulate the $1 million they’ll need to generate $40,000 a year as seniors.”

It probably makes business sense to give a little love to America’s middle child.

Baby Boomers: An Underserved Market

One study found Boomers spend more money per week on food than any other group and are willing to skip dessert for a glass of wine.

One study found Boomers spend more money per week on food than any other group and are willing to skip dessert for a glass of wine.

The media made a lot noise last year when Millennials (people born from 1981 to 1997) surpassed Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) as the largest living generation in the United States. Advertisers were rejoicing because Millennials are the coveted 18 to 45 year old age group – and now the biggest target.

But size doesn’t matter when it comes to marketing. It is money. Baby Boomers may be older, but as a group they have more disposable income and are practiced consumers.

According to a recent Huffington Post article, “Baby Boomers currently account for nearly $230 billion in sales for consumer packaged goods, out-buying age groups in products like coffee, magazines and diet soda. What’s more, they will control 70 percent of the nation’s disposal income and stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years.” (Based on a study conducted by Nielsen Marketing.)

  • Baby Boomer wants and needs aren’t focused on retirement homes and vitamin supplements.
  • The fastest growth in “gadget” use is among people age 55 and older.
  • Boomers have been the fastest-growing segment of health-club memberships since 1998 (American Sports Data) and 25 percent of health club members are age 55 years and older.
  • Boomers are social. The number of online dating sites for people age 50 and older is growing rapidly. SeniorMatch.com claims nearly 4 million members.
  • Food, health and wine. One study found Boomers spend more money per week on food than any other group and are willing to skip dessert for a glass of wine.

CFM’s research among Baby Boomers has found the group is more interested in quality and exemplary service than price. However, Boomer consumers will switch products and brands if expectations aren’t met.

Consumer companies are struggling to figure out the market, but the rewards are worth the effort. As Jody Holtzman, head of AARP’s Thought Leadership unit stated emphatically, “You’d have to be an idiot to turn your back on this humongous growth market.”

Language of Aging

The percentage of people age 65 or older is growing and so is sensitivity about how to refer to the growing population cohort.People are sensitive about aging, which is reflected in their sensitivity to the language used to describe them.

Census projections indicate one-fifth of the U.S. population will be 65 or older by 2030 and market data says people 50 or older account for a whopping 50 percent of all U.S. consumer spending. That has heightened awareness of how to refer to this growing and gainful cohort of people.