With all the hype surrounding new generations of consumers, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the older segments. But even though the millennials may see a lot of the spotlight today, it’s the baby boomers that still carry a tremendous amount of spending power and customer engagement potential.
Securing the customer loyalty of this generation should continue to be a top priority for brands. And thanks to a new report from CrowdTwist, a leading provider of multichannel customer loyalty and engagement solutions, marketers can now gain the insight needed to develop a proper customer engagement strategy to target a lucrative baby boomer audience, which includes nearly 75 million people.
After surveying both millennials and members of Generation X, CrowdTwist released the finding in a report titled, “The 2015 CrowdTwist Loyalty Program Report Part 3 of 3: Demystifying Brand Loyalty Among Baby Boomers,” which examined the behaviors and attitudes of consumers born between 1946 and 1964. This included their perceptions of brand loyalty, rewards programs, and customer engagement.
The findings indicate that baby boomers do differ from their Generation X and millennial counterparts, but that does not make them any less eager or willing to engage with the brands that understand how to leverage the customer experiences they prefer.
Overall, the report emphasized that baby boomers are more likely to demonstrate loyalty to brands that offer exceptional customer service, offer a true value proposition, and prioritize simplicity.
It is also important to note, however, that “simplicity” does not necessarily mean “old fashioned” either. For it is somewhat of a myth that baby boomers are averse to using all new forms of technology. This is not true, and the CrowdTwist report reflects that this aging demographic is perfectly willing to modify behaviors and change with the times if they have compelling and relevant reasons to do so.
While many baby boomers still do rely on traditional print and broadcast channels as a primarily means of information, many also regularly use the Internet and interact with friends and family members through a variety of social media channels and mobile devices. And this is particularly true for boomers at the younger end of the spectrum.
Therefore, CrowdTwist recommends that brands use a mix of marketing messages, strategies, and channels to engage this audience, especially with offers that they find very relevant and meaningful.
For loyalty programs in particular, this means offering rewards that allow older consumers to save money and earn rewards. Nearly 84% of boomers are motivated to join a loyalty program to save money, while about 62% join to earn specific rewards.
What’s more, 74% stated that coupons are the most important type of benefit they receive. Only 33% tended to join for exclusive offers and about 18% join for VIP treatment.
In general, baby boomers also reported being a fairly loyal group of customers as well. Almost half (46.4%) claimed to be “extremely” loyal to their favorite brands. And only 17% said they were “quite” willing to switch brands. On average, they are also 15.8% more likely than members of generation X to switch brands.
Another interesting finding showed that (more so than both millennials and Gen Xers) boomers are likely to be involved in multiple loyalty programs. Over half (54.1%) admitted to memberships in one or two programs, and over 28% actively participate in four or more.
Many of the findings demonstrated that boomers do differ from other generations, however, a number of similarities still exist.
Boomers, like Gen Xers, often conduct research before buying a product or service, and often use online channels to do so. This is a reoccurring theme that suggests that brands should not neglect digital customer engagement while attempting to communication with older consumers. Leveraging websites and social media can still effectively educate and incentivize many boomers.
Also congruent with both millennials and generation X, most boomers (71.2%) said they do not currently earn any points or rewards for engaging in a host of online and digital activities. But a large portion (48.4%) said that they would like to be incentivized and rewarded for doing so.
This, again, presents a tremendous opportunity. By rewarding consumers of all ages for taking surveys, tweeting, posting comments or pictures, writing reviews, opening emails, and more, brands can begin interacting with customers across a much more dynamic range of touch points.
This will not only increase engagement, but it will also increase relevancy, as these digital activities are part of the daily lives of most consumers, regardless of their generational affiliation.
Even the baby boomers are, as the report labels them, now “socially engaged silvers,” which means that engaging and rewarding members of this demographic for a host of digital activities will also resonate.
As most brands are continuing to discover, these are the kinds of relevant and meaningful customer experiences that can begin wining brand loyalty and inspire true advocacy.