How to Effectively Communicate Your Message to Baby Boomers (Part Two)
By: Anthony Herring
This article continues the subject matter first introduced in “How to Effectively Communicate Your Message to Baby Boomers (Part One)”.
1 – Changing Times
With baby boomers willing to understand the newer technology present nowadays, it’s clear that they are a viable part of the market. (This is important to note, as it goes against the misconception that they aren’t, which Alex Shvarts at Forbes magazine further explores in detail.)
Marketeers always seek the best way to communicate with prospects and their adult children, and while success can be found with radio, billboards, social media, and sponsorships, the holy grail still remains the basics.
2 – Methods of Communication
With boomers now in a better position technologically speaking, just how exactly do they use it to communicate? Well, rather than use tools such as social media platforms, they prefer more direct lines of communication—as both Ryan Jenkins of Entrepreneur and Rachel Pelta of FlexJob discuss in their respective articles—such as face-to-face interactions, phone calls, mail, and email.
There’s the old motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and it seems that boomers are living by that. The days of their youth were dominated by analog devices—as discussed in Part One—so it is understandable why they’d opt for speaking with someone over the phone instead of speaking through direct messages (or “DMs”) on X. (That being said, there are probably boomers who are more willing—or perhaps even more accepting—of the changing times, and are open to using newer communication methods. Imagine a boomer replying to their grandchild’s story on Instagram, or even finally sending that Twitter DM to a distant cousin!)
3 – Heart of the Matter
Now, to finally answer the central question: how can you effectively communicate your message to boomers? In our opinion, the three strongest avenues to do this are through still remain to be television ads, direct mail, and emails. On the surface, all three methods are wildly different in terms of execution and possible engagement, but they all can act as a method of direct communication.
- Television ads have been a mainstay for decades, and an optimal way to reach boomers. There is a directness to TV that is difficult to replicate: the viewer watches a person or a group of people doing everyday things, like going to the park, hanging out with their family, walking their dog, etc. Seeing these experiences onscreen can personally speak to the viewer, as it can be relatable to them. Let’s use an example.
- Marion Smith is a seventy-six-year-old woman who is contemplating going to a retirement community. Her current house isn’t as accommodating as it used to be—what with her back and knee problems—and she needs assistance. As someone who isn’t the best at using newer technology to find places, and the older analog methods not working for her, she has been in a rut. One day, she turns on the TV and sees an ad for a retirement community, where a woman her age is talking about her body aches. Marion called the community’s phone number, scheduled a tour, and was blown away by the services provided. She ended up becoming a member, much to Marion’s joy. She identified with the woman in the ad.
- Much like with TV ads, mail has been a decades-long mainstay. It is a surefire way to reach many people, and while it doesn’t have that same level of visual engagement that TV does, it can be made more personable. The letter sent to an individual is mailed specifically to them, for starters, as it has both their name and address on it. This captures the recipient’s attention, making them go, “Hmm, this is for me? I wonder what it’s about,” causing them to open the letter. The letter—unlike the ad—won’t be able to show a visual to help relatability. Still, it can give specific details about what services the sender can provide to the recipient.
- Mason Harrison is a stubborn seventy-eight-year-old man who is set in his ways. He prefers to talk on his phone and receive mail than even participate in receiving emails and texts from family and friends. Unfortunately, his family feels that he should be in a community, but they have difficulty reaching him as his cell phone is rarely handy. They have been finding places for him but can’t send him emails with more information. One day—after a heated argument with his son, Ben—Mason receives a letter from a community in his neighborhood. He opens it, feeling a bit guilty about the argument. The mail details the community’s services for retirees, and as he reads on, Mason finds himself intrigued. He writes down the number and email in the letter, and while he isn’t entirely sure he wants to go, he is willing to look more into it. He calls Ben back and gives him the info, telling his son to investigate the email while he will try calling.
- Email is essentially the next phase of mail’s evolution. It’s digitalized, it’s faster, it creates less clutter, etc. Much like with mail, however, it is personable: email is sent to users’ email accounts, where they can interact with it directly. They want to respond? They can go right on ahead. They want to ignore and / or delete it? They can do that, too. Unlike TV and mail, email can provide links, attachments, and even images regarding the subject that the sender wants to discuss with the recipient. The recipient can respond or ignore these add-ons if they so choose. Let’s explore one final example.
- Sheila Marks is a sixty-eight-year-old woman who retired a few years ago. She is actively looking for retirement communities to be a part of, having grown lonely in her cramped apartment complex. More tech-savvy than Marion and Mason, Sheila—with the help of her granddaughter, Mara—has had no luck browsing for communities online. One day, while browsing her Gmail account, Sheila saw an email from a local community. It was sent to her as a part of an AARP promotion, and after scouring the email, she believes she finally found her dream community. With Mara’s help, Sheila makes her way to the community’s website through a link on the email, and together, they navigate it—though Mara must make sure that she doesn’t go too quickly or else Sheila will be left behind!
Conclusion – Good Luck
We hope that Part Two has helped to illustrate not only how boomers’ relations with tech have changed, along with showing the three avenues that you can take to spread your community brand’s message. We wish you all the best of luck!
The details present in this blog article were comprised of information gathered from the sources listed below. I want to give credit where credit is due.