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Acquiring Digital Readers? New Media Will Not Help You

  |  October 29, 2012   |  Comments

Baby boomers are still creating brands - and now digital brands; so how do you reach them?

This column has been updated from its original edition.

Our close to 80 million baby boomers have the highest amount of disposable income of all the classifications of segmented generations. They spend $2.3 trillion a year on products and services they connect with. This generation lived in a unique timeframe where they actually built brands.

Baby boomers popularized brands like Popsicle and Gerber baby food, among others. This generation grew up helping create some of the biggest brands still known today. In fact, CNBC put a great slideshow together on top boomer brands here.

Success with most magazines relies on attracting many of the readers from the baby boomer generation. And, according to a Pew Research study, 60 percent of these people reportedly buy from brands who "understand" how to connect with the generation. How to acquire these readers is key, especially for digital. Here are some things you need to know about reaching this group:

  1. Device adoption is inevitable - 96 percent will use it for fitness and financial management.
  2. Digital management is life - 82 percent use their calendar function, 64 percent use email to manage their life.
  3. Friends keep you informed - 30 percent use social comments for buying decisions.

Device adoption is a great thing. It acts as a bridge between generations - content boomers grew up with, and are now married to the new device they use to manage their life.

But, be warned! Just because this group represents heavy device owners and users, it doesn't mean new media is the best way to sell to them. Here are some things to consider:

  • Anything online or via phone will take longer to "sink in." Boomers are more concerned about privacy.
  • Social media doesn't "sell" well with this generation. They are not as continually on social media. And, when they are, they use social for product validation.
  • AOL is still a go-to destination for many media searches. Boomers have different notions of what's news, compared to Gen Yers who think whatever they do is news and worthy of an update to their worlds.
  • Search is used for full URL searches. It is considered a trusted "new media" element to a boomer.
  • Health information is the third most common search activity for adults of all ages.

Media that tends to work with the baby boomers for acquisition of digital publishing includes:

  • AOL banners (especially on games)
  • Search
  • Points or discount-driven sites
  • Email
  • In-store ads
  • Public place ads (e.g., doctors' offices)
  • TV

Which media do you feel works best for your baby boomer targeting?

Baby Boomer image on home page via Shutterstock.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

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