In today’s fragmented multimedia world, much attention is paid to the array of digital ways to reach Gen X’ers, Millennials, and the rising tide of “Boomlets,” or Generation Z. But for the here-and-now, keep in mind that Baby Boomers still control the majority of the nation’s disposable income. As consumers in their earlier years, they fueled the expansion of direct mail marketing and continue to read their mail to this day.
Editorially, direct mail remains a big part of the discussion in how to reach and retain Baby Boomer customers.
One of the reasons direct mail is a reliable way of communicating with 45- to 64-year-olds is because they tend to trust direct mail more than other generations, and in turn prefer direct mail over other forms of outbound marketing. This is mainly due to the fact that this generation was subject to direct mail even before digital marketing communications existed, making it a bit more familiar.
In addition to being a trustworthy marketing channel, direct mail is also one of the best ways to reflect the value and worth of luxury products and services, an industry that is geared to affluent audiences such as the Boomers. Print is a medium that displays “the finer things” very nicely because a high quality stock, color, and finish all provide the recipient with an physically enjoyable experience, unlike digital advertisements.
Boomers don’t just spend their money; they also donate it to various charitable causes. In fact, they donate the highest number of dollars out of any generation in the United States. And direct mail continues to serve as the primary driver of personal contributions in fundraising.
Boomers are likely to read your direct mail piece, but before you write one word of copy, realize that this audience has a much younger sense of self than their age suggests.
Keep these tips in mind in writing for Boomers:
- Don’t call them “old” — Boomers are crossing age-defying activities off their bucket lists from skydiving to writing their first book. If they don’t feel, look, or act old, they certainly shouldn’t be labeled as old.
- Focus on customer service — They grew up with great retail service and continue to expect excellent customer service everywhere they shop.
- Impart knowledge — Boomers were taught that knowledge is power and are receptive to learning something they don’t know. Go ahead and use a few extra educational words. They will read them.
- Be personal — The personal touch goes a long way with this generation. Speak to them one-to-one. Use their name in the copy. Reference their location. Make each recipient feel special.
- Keep it simple — Use plain English, make a straightforward offer, and provide a clear path to action.
Dubbed the “Me Generation” in the 70s, Boomers are today’s “Most Valuable Generation.” They are hanging onto their youth, splurging on luxuries, and enjoying increasing amounts of free time for leisure activities. Yet by most accounts they feel that marketers are not speaking to them and are focused instead on hipsters. Address this generation directly and you’ll gain the lifetime loyalty of a generation with a lot left to give and buy.