In a previous post, I took a look at 4 of the biggest brands in the world and how they are marketing to older adults and becoming brands Baby Boomers love. While many brands continue to shift their sights and target the younger demographics, America’s spending power remains with the Boomers.
In this post, we’ll take a look at 4 more brands, how they are targeting Baby Boomers and how marketers in the senior living and active adult industries can apply these strategies to their own marketing plans.
1. COSTCO: Listening to What Baby Boomers Want and Need
What can’t you find at Costco? It often seems that the members-only retailer sells just about everything. Even still, they’ve expanded their offerings to include more items specifically targeted to older adults.
By doing so, Costco has made two things clear:
- They’re willing to adapt to meet the needs of their customers, including the lucrative Baby Boomer market.
- They’re ready to compete in unfamiliar spaces and force more established companies to increase the quality of their products and lower their prices.
Among the bevy of groceries, gadgets and appliances you can buy at Costco are now senior products such as hearing aids, medical alert systems and more.
The Senior List predicts Costco’s foray into the Boomer/senior product space will cause companies that are already in this industry to also adapt for the benefit of the consumer. For example, Costco now sells hearing aids at a cheaper price point than its competitors.
In addition to positioning itself as the most cost-effective solution for Baby Boomer products, with Costco’s focus on service, combined with its practicality and brand equity, we think it could soon emerge as a leader in aging products. For so many Americans, Costco is already a part of their weekly routine and has been for decades. As people get older the chain will continue to expand its product line to meet their evolving needs. With Costco already being their go-to one-stop shop with products they love, it’s not hard to envision it being their first choice when it comes to their aging needs.
The Senior List also notes how navigating the aging products industry can be difficult. There’s no streamlined place to find reviews, costs and other information that customers usually depend on before making a purchase.
All it takes is one look at the Costco Hearing Aid Center webpage to realize they’re out to make it as easy as possible for people to buy their product. The price is among the first things you see on the page — it’s large, it’s bold and you can’t miss it. And as you scroll down, they provide more information about hearing aid styles, suppliers, accessories and how customers can schedule a visit for a hearing test.
It doesn’t stop there either. Costco offers free hearing tests, free product demonstrations and free hearing aid cleaning. If other hearing aid companies aren’t offering easy access to information about their products and free hearing tests, they’ll have to start doing so, or risk getting left behind while Costco continues to be among the brands Baby Boomers love. This very same notion applies to senior living and active adult companies that fail to adapt as well.
2. DOS EQUIS: Among the Most Interesting Brands Baby Boomers Love
Baby Boomers don’t feel “old” and we shouldn’t be marketing to them as such. Dos Equis is among the leading brands that understands this concept. Chances are, you’ve come across one or more of their “most interesting man in the world” ads when watching your favorite shows.
Though the campaign has since been retirened, the ads featured a dashing elderly man who recalls his experiences — experiences the average person can only dream of — accompanied by his trusty bottle of Dos Equis beer. Beer ads can be targeted at a wide age range (starting at 21 and up, of course), so the decision to go with an older gentleman rather than a younger one was deliberate. It was a risk that resulted in one of the most easily recognizable ad campaigns of the last 20 years.
One key takeaway from Dos Equis’ most interesting man ads is that, when marketing to Baby Boomers, it’s best to lead with lifestyle and cater imagery and copy to their aspirations. We’ve stressed this to our clients for many years and they’ve seen the positive impact of transforming the clinical imagery and messaging of yesteryear to creative that shows older adults being active and living life to its fullest potential, even when society says they should be slowing down.
Take a look at your senior living or active adult community creative. We can’t all be the most interesting man — or woman — in the world, but if the creative doesn’t inspire you to want to discover what’s possible at your community, it won’t inspire your prospects.
3. AMAZON: Giving Boomers What They Want, When They Want It
Baby Boomers love a brands they can rely on. As they become more accustomed to using technology in their daily lives, Amazon is quickly emerging as a leading brand that Baby Boomers love. Amazon is popular among all age groups, and it’s easy to understand why.
You can buy almost anything on Amazon — smartphones, shoes, toiletries, food, etc. — and have it appear at your doorstep in as short as a few hours and typically within 2-3 days. It’s choice and convenience that can’t be beaten. And with the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had, Boomers’ use of Amazon is sure to continue rising. As the need to social distance and refrain from crowded retail remains, older adults are realizing that much of their safety could depend on their willingness to use ecommerce more regularly.
While there are countless ecommerce giants to choose from, Amazon is the largest of them all. They continue to innovate without sacrificing the quality of delivery to the customer. So, while they they’re not specifically targeting older adults, a lot of the traits associated with their business are those Boomers value. They want to be able to quickly find what they’re looking to purchase and know that it will arrive just as quickly and in the condition promised to them.
4. CHEERIOS: A Healthy Dose of Nostalgia
Cheerios is among the most iconic cereal brands and continues to be a brand Baby Boomers love. It’s the breakfast they loved as kids and one they continue to love as adults. I’d go as far as to say that the nostalgia the Honey Nut Cheerios name invokes in Boomers might be enough to get them in the store and searching the shelves for their next box.
But Honey Nut Cheerios doesn’t rely solely on nostalgia to reach Baby Boomers. Take a minute to watch the video below.
There are some key items that stood out to me in the ad when it comes to marketing to Baby Boomers. First is the emphasis on health. While we generally recommend emphasizing more aspirational aspects of aging, the fact of the matter is that health is a major concern for older adults. This ad seeks to capture their attention by addressing this concern, and doing so in a lighthearted manner rather than a clinical one.
The ad also includes two recognizable faces. The iconic Honey Nut Cheerios bee, and Leslie David Baker, who’s iconic in his own right for his role as the moody Stanley Hudson in The Office. With Baker being a Boomer himself, he represents someone people that are part of this demographic can identify with immediately upon seeing the ad.
Think about how you can apply these concepts to reach your prospects. For example, there’s less room to be aspirational when marketing assisted living. Being that it’s a needs-based sale, the prospect’s needs need to be addressed. That doesn’t mean you can’t combine elements of both in your creative though. I know for me, when thinking of what to write for assisted living ads, I like to position copy in a way that shows how getting the care he or she needs can help a senior loved one do what they aspire to the best of his or her ability.
As the world’s largest brands continue to hone in on the lucrative Baby Boomer consumer market and how best to market its members, there are sure to be additional insights on how they continue to innovate to reach this group. Who knows? There may be a third installment highlighting how 4 more big brands Baby Boomers love and how they’re succeeding at marketing to them.
What are some of the unique ways in which your business has sought to capture to the attention of Baby Boomers? Tweet @CreatingResults to let us know!