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Generations: Earning Boomers' Brand Devotion

Generations: Earning Boomers' Brand Devotion Article Featured Image

Marketers put a lot of focus on connecting with Gen Z—who are sometimes called zoomers—but older generations still drive much of our economy. This is the first installment of a three-part Generations series that explores the current attitudes, habits, and mindsets of baby boomers, members of Gen X, and millennials. We look at how to connect with them effectively and cultivate their loyalty. Let’s begin by focusing on boomers.

Popular culture often emphasizes the stereotype of baby boomers as out-of-touch, technologically illiterate curmudgeons complaining about the price of coffee at their local Starbucks. But that idea couldn’t be more wrong.

In reality, baby boomers make up an active, engaged demographic with significant disposable income—and the free time to spend it. Born between 1946 and 1964, baby boomers represent 20% of the U.S. population, or approximately 68 million adults. While many are stepping back from full-time work, 19% of Americans age 65 and older are working, and 62% of those workers are full time. They also own more than 50% of the U.S. wealth and spend more per transaction than other generations. 

Like their younger counterparts, baby boomers have unique brand expectations and preferences. Knowing how to communicate with them and deliver the brand experiences they favor is key to building strong connections and lasting loyalty. 

To earn their devotion, let’s consider how best to reach this generation with messaging, products, and experiences. 

Affluent, yes. Spendthrifts, no.

Baby boomers now range in age from 60 to 78, and at this stage in life, most are spending more money than they’re saving, living life to the fullest while managing their funds to last their lifetimes. According to a 2022 report from Mintel, baby boomers tend to be price conscious, looking for overall value. They prefer premium brands and stores. They value practical pricing, stability, dependability, and clear information from the brands they trust. 

Surprisingly tech savvy

The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for many baby boomers who’d previously shied away from newer technology. In fact, according to Better Marketing, there’s “no appreciable ‘technology gap’ between the AARP set and the younger set today—whether you are talking about smartphones, smart TVs, tablets and more.” Boomers do trail younger counterparts in terms of wearables, but only narrowly, asserts David C. Wyld, a consultant and professor of strategic management. “The percentage of seniors who own these devices … is generally within 10% of the rate found in folks younger—sometimes much younger—than themselves.” 

Boomers are also seasoned users of social media channels to connect with family, friends, and the world. They spend most social media time on Facebook and Instagram, although they also like short-form videos found on YouTube. Mobile gaming is a fast-growing leisure activity among boomers. They’re also shopping online. In 2024, nearly 11 million consumers age 65 and older will make a purchase via social media, says eMarketer, a market research company. 

Active and pursuing life’s pleasures

Whether spending time with their families and friends or pursuing hobbies, baby boomers are doing the things they’ve dreamed of but may not have had the time for when building careers and raising families. According to a 2022 report from a leading market intelligence research company, they care about maintaining healthy lives, managing their personal finances, and enjoying hobbies. Popular activities that keep boomers engaged and fulfilled include staying fit (think: pickleball and swimming), dating, engaging in tech, improving their homes, traveling, volunteering, playing music, and pursuing spiritual and social experiences. 

In fact, boomers are a dynamic generation, redefining expectations of retirement and aging. Today’s boomers are shifting societal perceptions and expectations of what it means to be “old.” From traveling to volunteering to participating in political activism, they’re using their retirement years to change and to facilitate change, belying the stereotype that older adults are passive and disengaged from the world. 

How can your brand make an emotional connection?

Collecting and leveraging customer data specific to baby boomers is critical to providing targeted, personalized messaging and offers that fit their mindset. 

  • Connect with their lifestyle. Boomers care about their health. Help them get the most out of their lives through everyday healthy living, spending time with family and friends, and staying active. For example, Life Time Fitness’s ARORA 360 community offers a collection of fitness, social, and educational programs designed for people age 55 and older who want to stay active, healthy, and social. 
  • Help them build relationships with family and friends. Provide products, services, and information to help them stay connected, share experiences, and make positive memories. The Tiny Beans private photo-sharing app, for example, connects families and turns moments into memories—a perfect pick for boomers. 
  • Reinforce value pricing, stability, and dependability. Boomers care about being wise with their money. Brands that reflect these values will resonate with them. In the car market, brands like Toyota and Honda illustrate how price and reliability appeal to boomers and represent good overall value for their money
  • Communicate clearly. Although seniors are keeping up with trends and technology these days, make it easy for them to connect with your brand. Avoid slang and abbreviations. For example, don’t assume boomers know every text abbreviation. Use readable fonts and straightforward videos. Make customer service accessible and easy, preferably with a human connection. Also, practically everyone over age 60 needs reading glasses, so finding options that don’t rely on screens alone can simplify communications for boomers. One study shows that more than half (64%) of U.S. consumers between the ages of 45 and 75 prefer to be contacted by phone for service-related questions rather than a digital channel. 
  • Show them their best selves. Be sensitive and ensure your communications don’t make boomers out to be over the hill. Represent them in marketing content as fun, vital, and wise. And consider using boomer celebrity influencers plus models on the younger end of the boomer range. (Then again, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Wang Deshun, Jenni Rhodes, and Daphne Selfe are busy, working models—all in their 80s.) 

Use a multichannel approach

Marketers targeting baby boomers should employ various channels and platforms that effectively reach this demographic. While digital marketing channels are important for consumers in all demographics today, invest in other key channels where marketers can find seniors: 

  • Television: Baby boomers watch a significant amount of television, so advertising through traditional broadcast and cable TV channels can be effective. Consider running ads during daytime programs, news broadcasts, and primetime shows that appeal to this demographic.


  • Radio: Many baby boomers regularly listen to the radio, especially during their commutes or while doing household chores. Advertising through AM/FM radio stations, particularly those that play music from the 1950s through the 1980s or offer talk radio formats, can be impactful, according to Media Culture. 
  • Print media: Baby boomers are more likely to read newspapers, magazines, and other print publications than younger generations, spending nearly three hours per week doing so, according to media group MCA-Russell Johns. Placing ads in publications that cater to baby boomer interests, such as lifestyle magazines, newspapers, and niche publications, can be effective. 
  • Direct mail: Direct mail campaigns can be another way to reach baby boomers, particularly those who choose to be less active online. Consider sending postcards, catalogs, or personalized mailers that highlight products or services tailored to their interests and needs. 
  • Digital advertising: Search engine marketing (SEM), display ads, social media ads (especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram), and video ads on platforms like YouTube can be effective in reaching this audience. Consider partnering with boomer influencers and celebrities—such as Instagram icon Grece Ghanem, who’s out to prove to her 1.6 million followers that style and confidence have no age limits. Meanwhile, older readers are flocking to the “More Time to Travel” website, created by longtime journalist and boomer Irene S. Levine.
  • Email marketing: Baby boomers are known to check their email regularly, making email marketing an effective strategy. Consider creating targeted email campaigns that provide valuable information, promotions, or discounts on products and services that appeal to boomers’ interests. 
  • Special events: Participating in trade shows, expos, and community activities targeted to baby boomers can provide face-to-face interactions and opportunities to showcase products and services. Examples include music, art, and sports-related events, and expos focused on popular leisure activities like gardening, home improvement, and travel.
  • Social clubs and organizations: Partnering with or sponsoring these groups can provide access to baby boomers who share similar interests. Barnes & Noble, for example, offers a national book club that draws in the boomer set. The company also welcomes local book club meetings at their stores. 
  • Word of mouth and referral programs: Like most people, baby boomers appreciate recommendations from friends, family members, and peers. Implementing referral programs or encouraging satisfied customers to spread the word about your products or services can be an effective marketing strategy. 
  • Customer service and support: Providing excellent customer service and support is crucial for reaching baby boomers. Positive experiences can lead to word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat business from this demographic, who often prioritize trust and reliability. 

By using a mix of these channels and tailoring marketing messages to resonate with baby boomers’ interests, values, and preferences, marketers can effectively reach and engage this important demographic.


Read our white paper: Generationally Speaking: Gen Z Transforms Loyalty


Barb Olson is vice president, Strategic Services. For more than 30 years, The Lacek Group has been innovating the art and algorithms of brand devotion. We help world-class brands identify their highest-potential customers, engage them across channels throughout their lifecycles, personalize each relationship for optimal long-term results, and measure the true effectiveness of those efforts.