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Cynopsis Media presents:
Demographics of Baby Boomers
by Daisy Whitney
Good morning. It’s Thursday, October 6, 2011, and this is a special edition on the Demographics of Baby Boomers. This report explores the latest trends on this group’s television and multiplatform use, particularly their engagement with Social Media and that’s engagement on television viewing. As always with any special edition, we hope you find the information relevant, interesting and informative, and encourage your feedback.
In a recent commercial for a Chevy Camaro, a gray-haired couple turns young again when they get into the car and peel away from their house. It’s a sleek spot for a sexy car and also speaks to its target audience – boomers. Yes, boomers are buying sports cars, and they’re also buying iPads, Smartphones, plasma screens and lots of other cool gadgets, doodads and gizmos. They’ve got money to spend, and money to burn, and marketers are eager to reach them.
But the key to successfully reaching boomers is to use ads and programming that speaks to them and reflects them back the way they want to be seen, experts say.
Networks from RLTV to Hallmark to the big broadcast networks, as well as Web sites and portals, and health and lifestyle centric online publishers, are actively targeting boomers. And with good reason.
The 55-Plus Marketing Sweet Spot
Marketers who only focus on the “sweet spot” of the 25 to 54 demographic will miss about 58% of the population of the United States, or about 180 million people, Nielsen said. On its blog, the research firm has noted that many marketers have misconceptions about boomers in particular when it comes to brands and buying habits, but clearing away those wrong notions can help marketers reach a group that has plenty of disposable income. Contrary to popular belief, boomers are not set in their ways and they’re just as likely to switch brands as younger consumers are. In fact, the 55-plus group has similar buying rates for consumer packaged goods as does the 25 to 54 demo. Also, the 55-plus group spends the most time watching TV, logging about 6.5 hours a day, and also spends about 85 minutes per day online, Nielsen said.
“Boomers are an affluent group who adopt technology with enthusiasm (think about the number of parents or grandparents who regularly send e-mails or upload photos to Facebook and other sites). They have also shown a willingness to try new brands and products,” Nielsen said.
Alan Wurtzel, President of Research at NBC Universal, said so-called “alpha boomers” in the 55 to 64 segment account for about $1.8 trillion in spending power and that each year about four million people join this demo. As a whole they’re as excited about technology, cable, broadband and new gadgets as younger demos are, he said.
“Marketers are realizing this is a very important segment that perhaps has been overlooked,” he said. “There is a broad range of categories wanting to reach them. It’s not just pharmaceutical and travel.” Increasingly, technology, consumer electronics makers and automotive companies are developing ads specifically geared to that group. The growth in alpha boomers is important for nearly every network to heed with the exception of MTV-esque or Nickelodeon-type networks clearly targeting very young demos, Wurtzel said.
“You could list a half dozen of those networks where it’s not in target audience. But for everyone in the mass broadcast media it’s relevant and for any media companies that has depended on the baby boom as a core of their audience for their past 20 years, it’s relevant,” he said.
There are some networks too that specifically target boomers, such as RLTV, which is now found in 15 million cable homes. RLTV has its pulse on the interests of this age group.
“Boomers watch an incredible amount of news. Many watch TV during the day, but boomers and seniors are watching at more times of day and they consume enormous amounts of information, content, news, finance, health information,” said Elliot Jacobson, Senior VP of Programming and Production at RLTV.
They also want to see themselves reflected back on TV. “They want to see people who look like them doing the things they aspire to do or are doing,” he said.
In addition, the boomer generation is highly connected online and in social forums. They are contributing greatly to the growth of Facebook and other social platforms and they are watching online video and TV at the same time, said Hanna Gryncwajg, Senior VP of Ad Sales at RLTV. Nielsen found that 75 percent of those 55-plus are online and watching TV simultaneously. As such, RLTV will be launching a new programming initiative for 2012 called Funding Your Future that marries online and TV efforts. It will be the network’s first far-reaching multi-platform campaign and RLTV is currently talking to financial companies about sponsorship.
Syndication is also a top performing daypart for boomers and also for adults 45 to 64, said the Syndicated Network Television Association.
Social media can help drive boomers to watch TV.
“Social media has been great at creating individual TV hits and its importance as a brand enhancer/builder cannot be underestimated,” said Pam Slay, Senior Vice President, Network Program Publicity for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. “Social media has the potential to lift ratings.For example, original programs that do not have a significant paid media spend [still] get a big boost from aggressive promotion in social media.”
Slay said that the Hallmark efforts are paying off. The network is reaching younger fans and converting them into viewers, while the boomers who were always viewers are becoming more and more sophisticated at integrating viewing with social media.Social media also lets the network reach its viewers with marketing and tune-in messages even when they’re not watching TV. “I might not always be standing around with a magazine in hand, but I have Facebook, Twitter, Miso and GetGlue on my mobile phone, my iPad, my laptop. If I’m a fan or follower of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel, I’m going to get a tune-in message at varying intervals all day leading up to a world premiere” she said.
That messaging, coupled with offers and contests and other interactive content, deepens the relationship and the engagement with viewers of all ages.
Later — Daisy
Daisy Whitney for Cynopsis Media
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