If you’re a B2C marketer you know there are two key target groups to reach today: Millennials and Baby Boomers. But while these two groups are very desirable in terms of their size, influence and purchasing power, they don’t have much in common in terms of their attitudes and outlook. A recent Nielsen study reveals what you need to know to target both younger and older consumers.
One commonality both Millennials and Boomers do share is that they’re both huge tech users—they just use it differently. While Boomers use desktop computers, watch TV and even use landline phones, Millennials are wedded to their smartphones and laptops—which they use to watch TV.
This tech focus means while digital marketing tactics will reach both groups, there are important differences in how Boomer and Millennial brains respond to marketing messages. These differences are driven by biology: Once people reach their mid-40s, the brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels dwindle, affecting how the brain responds to stimuli.
If you’re targeting Boomers:
- Keep in mind that aging brains respond to familiarity and repetition. Your campaign should use the same slogans, graphics, images and marketing messages over and over so Boomer brains can recognize them. Frequency is more important than size when it comes to advertising.
- Advertising online? Boomer brains can’t handle the tons of stimuli on a typical Web page, so a banner ad will get lost unless you clearly differentiate it from the surroundings. Keep it simple with one clear call to action.
- Boomers have longer attention spans and prefer to focus on one thing. Long-form content marketing methods such as ebooks and white papers, infomercials and longer online videos will get their interest.
- Tone-wise, Boomers appreciate a positive, lighthearted message in advertising. They do like humor, but not the snarky type, and they respond well to sentimental messages.
- Boomers don’t think of themselves as seniors, even if they are, so your advertising should show characters who are slightly younger than your target audience.
If you’re targeting Millennials:
- Young people’s brains need lots of stimulus to keep them interested, so rich media ads that include video, .gifs and bright colors get their attention, as do banner ads.
- While millennials have shorter attention spans than Boomers, they’re more able to handle lots of different input at the same time. Use multisensory marketing methods—for example, a video that includes text and interactive tools such as an option to chat with a customer service rep will engage, rather than overwhelm this age group.
- Tone-wise, Millennials love sarcasm, snarkiness and oddball humor; zany visual elements that might confuse Boomers will get Millennials’ hard-to-grab attention.
- For male Millennials, wacky humor and sports themes work well. For Millennial women, ads emphasizing fun, aspirational goals or the celebrity lifestyle hit their hot buttons.
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