How To Market To Baby Boomers In Singapore

How To Market To Baby Boomers In Singapore

Modern marketers tend to focus primarily on younger demographics such as Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. This strategy is largely based on the assumption that these younger audiences, who spend a significant amount of time on the internet, are easier to reach and engage with through digital platforms.

They are perceived as being more aware of trends and new product releases, making it simpler to bring brands to their attention. However, there is a valuable and often overlooked consumer segment in Singapore that deserves more attention: the Silver Market, comprising Baby Boomers.

Despite common misconceptions about Baby Boomers being too traditional or not digitally savvy, they present a significant opportunity for brands. This article aims to present a case for why marketers should prioritize Baby Boomers as a key target market. Additionally, in this article, you will learn about:

  • Understanding Baby Boomers as a key target market
  • Creating a Baby Boomer Buyer Persona
  • The importance of not overlooking the Silver Market
  • Effective marketing strategies for Baby Boomers 

Who Are The Baby Boomers

Who Are The Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers are born between 1946 and 1964. In Singapore, Boomers are the pioneers and nation-builders. They witnessed Singapore’s rise to becoming a first-world country.

Moreover, this is the generation who is lucky to experience the post-war abundance. Their seasoned life experiences affected the way they consume information and their purchasing behaviors and preferences.

In relation to marketing, a consumer is not just categorized by their belongingness to an age bracket. A brand, while building a campaign, must also consider the life experiences of its target market to relate to them. In order to create an effective marketing strategy specific to the Baby Boomers, below is a matrix that helps a brand learn more about the silver market.

Baby Boomers vs the Younger Generations

FACTORS BABY BOOMER GEN X MILLENNIALS GEN Z
Age
  • 60 – 78
  • 44 – 59
  • 28 – 43
  • 12 – 27
Historic / Economic period they were raised
  • Post-war abundance
  • Various economic crises
  • Various economic crises, global pandemic
  • Global pandemic
Preferred Channels
  • TV and print
  • Phone
  • Email
  • WhatsApp
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • SMS
  • Social Media
  • Omni-channel
Job / Financial Status
  • Retired
  • Has the highest purchasing power, has disposable income
  • C-suite – upper management/entrepreneurs
  • Has purchasing power
  • Middle management/startup founders/entrepreneurs
  • Has purchasing power
  • Student, entry-level to middle management/entrepreneurs
  • Has limited purchasing power, yet can earn despite young age
Goals
  • Prioritize physical health
  • Spend more time with friends / family
  • Manage money better
  • Prioritize physical health
  • Manage money better
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Prioritize mental and physical health
  • Travel
  • Make more sustainable purchases / decisions
  • Prioritize mental and physical health
  • Make more sustainable purchases/decisions
How They Shop
  • Subscription/membership
  • Attracted to promos, coupons
  • Attracted to freebies & coupons
  • Word-of-Mouth / User Generated Content
  • Testimonials
Where they Shop
  • In-store
  • In-store
  • Online
  • In-store
Brand Loyalty
  • Loyal, especially with discount-driven campaigns
  • Loyal, especially with discount-driven campaigns and use nostalgia
  • Least loyal, prefer brands who are authentic and socially responsible
  • Not-so-loyal, but seek brands who share their beliefs

The table above aggregates various market research and articles written by Three-tier Logic, GrowthNatives, YouGov, and Porch Group Media.

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It shows that every generation has distinct consumer behaviors and preferences, mostly brought about by the historical and economic periods in which they were raised.

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Today, Boomers are retirees with significant disposable income, making them the biggest spenders compared to younger generations. Because they are in their retirement age, Boomers value health and wellness more than in their younger years. Also, being in the retirement season, Boomers prioritize family and friends’ time more than other matters.

Regarding media touchpoints, Boomers may not be as tech-savvy as their contemporaries, but they are on at least one social media site. Commission Factory states that in Singapore, “For WhatsApp, data shows that usage is highest among Baby Boomers (100%) and lowest among Gen Xers (97%).” In general, boomers still prefer traditional channels like TV, print ads, and even email.

Despite having strong purchasing power, Baby Boomers are still attracted to discount promos.

They are also proven to be brand loyal since they are mostly subscription members. Regarding decision-making in shopping, they may not be big believers in word-of-mouth, user-generated content, or reviews like the younger generations, but Boomers are known to be quick in purchasing decisions once they have a good service or product experience in-store.

In marketing, it is imperative that a marketer knows their target audience.

Laying down these generational differences can be helpful. Knowing the target audience’s background, preferences, and pain points, a marketer can build a clear and solid buyer persona as a basis for building an effective marketing campaign.

What is a Buyer Persona? 

Hootsuite defines a buyer persona as “a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. While fictional, this persona is based on deep research of your existing or desired audience and can be used to refine your marketing strategy and product positioning.”

In the case of Baby Boomers, we can say that a typical consumer looks like this:

Name: Robert Tsao

Description: Robert is a retired Baby Boomer male. He is looking for ways to improve or sustain his health. He wants to make his retirement season more interesting and enjoyable while also spending more time with his family and friends. 

Demographics:

  • Age: 65 years old
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Singapore
  • Job: Retiree
  • Savings: $250,000+
  • Family life: Widower, has 2 kids

Struggles a product or service could address:

  • Needs: Seeking ways to improve health and make retirement enjoyable
  • Motivations: Wants to have a happier family and retirement life
  • Challenges: Has limited energy and earning potential
  • Persona’s Journey: Robert loves to read the news in the morning, whether through the newspaper or on the Internet. Afterward, he walks around the neighborhood and then proceeds to play Mahjong with friends. Sometimes, his kids, along with his grandchildren, visit and spend time with him.

Baby Boomers

Why Brands Should NOT Forget the Baby Boomers

Singapore has an aging population. According to Statista, “By 2035, it was estimated that around a third of Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above.” Even as early as 2024, Statista concludes that 21% of the total Singaporean population is already aged 57 to 75, comprising the Baby Boomers.

This demographic trend highlights the importance of targeting this age group, which has unique needs and significant spending power.

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Key Reasons for Targeting Baby Boomers:

  1. Substantial Market Segment
    1. With one-fifth of Singapore’s population being seniors, this group represents a sizable market. Ignoring this segment means missing out on a substantial portion of potential customers.
    2. The aging population trend is set to continue, making Baby Boomers a key target market for the next decade or two.
  2. High Disposable Income
    1. Baby Boomers typically have significant savings, retirement funds, and investments. They have more disposable income compared to younger generations.
    2. Having already supported their offspring, many Baby Boomers are now focusing on spending for themselves, seeking new experiences, and enjoying their remaining years.
  3. Evolving Needs and Interests
    1. As they age, Baby Boomers’ needs evolve, creating demand for products and services tailored to their lifestyle, health, and wellness.
    2. Industries such as assisted living, senior housing, healthcare, travel, and leisure activities are particularly relevant and lucrative.
  4. Free Time and Engagement
    1. Retired or semi-retired Baby Boomers have more free time to engage with brands, whether through traditional or digital media.
    2. They value experiences and are willing to invest in activities that enrich their lives.

8 Effective Ways to Market to Baby Boomers

8 Effective Ways to Market to Baby Boomers

 1. Use a clear and straightforward language.

Creative marketing stunts are often effective for younger generations. Gen X is known to receive campaigns better that use nostalgia. Millennials are drawn to out-of-the-box ads and projects that have social contributions. Gen Zs love brands that resonate with their growing pains and juvenile beliefs.

However, Baby Boomers want information that is clear and straight to the point. Here are some efforts to effectively reach and engage them.

  • Use Clear Headlines: Having direct headlines can immediately convey the main message. Using wordplay or figures of speech and imagery in ads can be risky as there is a possibility that they would not land perfectly for seniors.
  • Provide Comprehensive Product Details: Be detailed and transparent in providing information about the product. Listing down features, benefits, and any guarantees or warranties can be helpful to the Baby Boomers.
  • Be Detailed About The Shopping Instructions: Remember that Baby Boomers are not digital natives. So if a brand is in e-commerce, provide detailed information on how to purchase the product, including payment options, delivery times, and return policies.
  • Have a Call-to-Action (CTA): Ensure the CTA is compelling and straightforward, such as “Buy Now,” “Call Today,” or “Visit Our Store.”

Aside from the abovementioned, if a brand utilizes a website, prioritize making it user-friendly. Always mind ease of navigation, having readable fonts, and accessibility features like step-by-step guides.

A good example of a clear and easy-to-understand ad is this video from Etiqa Insurance. The script uses simple sentences to present the clear intention of protecting families. The video includes clips of families consisting of different generations, from kids to grandparents. After making their case, the brand provides a website link in the final scene. Additionally, the brand includes a clickable link in the video description.

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2. Create readable and accessible content

 In addition to using straightforward language, brands must mind readability and accessibility in their content. As individuals age, changes in vision and cognitive abilities can impact their interaction with digital and print media.

Here are ways to improve content readability:

  • Use Larger Fonts/Font Size: Increase the font size to enhance readability. Good practice is using 14-point font for the body text, while even larger font size for
  • Font Type: Use clear, sans-serif fonts like Arial, Verdana, or Helvetica, which are easier to read on screens.
  • High Contrast Colors/Contrast: Ensure there is a high contrast between text and background colors. Black text on a white background or white text on a dark background is recommended.
  • Avoid Clutter: Keep the design clean and simple, avoiding busy backgrounds that can make text hard to read.
  • Closed Captions and Transcripts/Videos: Always provide closed captions for videos. This not only helps Baby Boomers with hearing impairments but also supports comprehension for all viewers.
  • Transcripts: Offer transcripts of video and audio content for those who prefer reading to watching or listening.
  • Alt Text and Descriptive Links:Provide alternative text descriptions for images. This is helpful for visually impaired users who rely on screen readers.
  • Descriptive Links: Using “click here” in hyperlinks may be the usual practice, but for Baby Boomers, it is helpful that brands use a more descriptive call-to-action button. “Learn more about our senior discount program” is more understandable instead of just telling the readers to click the button.

3. Use information that solidifies brand credibility

The younger generations respond better to emotional marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are known to be loyal to reputable and credible brands. They want brands that are tried and tested.

To tap into this consumer preference, employ these key approaches:

Highlight the Brand’s Strengths

How long is the product in the market? Does it have awards and certifications? Prioritize using language or information that cements the brand’s credibility. It would be helpful to highlight the product’s strengths like its high quality and value for money, and even emphasize the product’s longevity in the market.

  • Share Positive Feedback and Consumer Experiences: Use genuine customer testimonials and positive reviews to showcase real-life satisfaction. Provide detailed case studies or stories that highlight how the product has positively impacted users’ lives. Also, encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences on social media and feature these stories in marketing materials.
  • Use Reputable Brand Ambassadors: Having a reputable brand ambassador would also strengthen a brand’s credibility. Collaborate with well-known and respected individuals who resonate with Baby Boomers. This could be celebrities, industry experts, or influential figures who have credibility within the target demographic.

Take for example this Toyota Singapore ad for Vios. The brand let the Chief Engineer, Takeshi Matsuda, highlight the features of the car, while emphasizing why the car fits its tagline, “Value Beyond Belief.” Compelling images plus having an expert discuss the strengths of the product gives a strong credibility to it.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) also employs the same strategy. Observe that in their TV ads for their household brands like Tide and Pantene, they feature expert figures such as doctors, dentists, and mothers who provide positive testimonials about their products. P&G further establishes the brand as reputable and reliable by consistently highlighting how the products are superior to competitors, often referred to as “Brand X”.

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4. Encourage learning and participation

 Despite their age, Baby Boomers generally are still receptive to learning. They are fond of activities catered to their needs and give them opportunities to participate in communities.

Offline brand activities such as training sessions, workshops, and outreach can be attractive to seniors. These efforts would not only eventually add to the brand’s bottom line but can foster brand loyalty, create an organic community of devoted fans, and even become a space for brand evangelists.

A case in point is OCBC’s Digital Silvers Program. OCBC is holding workshops and training to protect seniors from scammers and help them use digital payments. According to the Strait Times,  “More than 300 seniors have learnt how to bank and pay digitally while staying safe from scams, and OCBC Bank aims to upskill 2,000 more by the end of 2023.”

Encourage learning and participation

Image source: The Straits Times

5. Have a reliable customer service

 Baby Boomers are known to be generous in feedback and even in expressing grievances. To engage the Silver Market, a brand must invest in reliable customer service or after-sales assistance. Here are some ways to strengthen a brand’s customer support:

  • Provide a Dedicated Customer Support Channels: Have easily accessible phone lines, help desks, and even email or chat support specifically for senior customers. Ensure these channels are staffed by well-trained, empathetic representatives.
  • Have a Feedback System: Regularly collect feedback through surveys and forms to understand customer needs and improve services.

Seniors love feeling assured that someone is listening to them, especially regarding their purchases and the services they patronize. If brands have good customer service, they can prevent losing customers and can easily capture the Boomers’ loyalty for the rest of their lives.

6. Leverage WhatsApp

In relation to customer service, brands must know where their customers are and how to talk to them. In Singapore, Boomers are known to use WhatsApp more than other messaging applications. WhatsApp can be a tool for brands and Baby Boomers to ease conversations, feedback, and promotions or upselling. Brands can utilize this messaging app through these tips:

  • 24/7 Customer Support: Provide prompt responses and offer round-the-clock support to customer queries or issues via WhatsApp, ensuring timely resolution and customer satisfaction. This can give the Baby Boomers peace of mind that assistance is available whenever they need it.
  • Promotions and Upselling Opportunities: Send personalized promotional messages or exclusive offers based on their purchase history or interests. Brands can also share informative content about new products or services to open upselling opportunities.

7. Use loyalty campaigns

Though seniors are big spenders because of their disposable income, they are still discerning shoppers who appreciate value and savings. If brands incorporate good value promos, plus attractive membership-perks programs, they can never lose Baby Boomers’ business as they are generally drawn to these loyalty programs with thrift aspects. Use these ways to foster long-term loyalty among the boomers:

  • Offer Weekly Promos: Implementing regular discounts or B1T1 promos caters directly to Baby Boomers’ shopping habits. This creates a sense of anticipation and encourages repeat visits.
  • Have Seasonal and Event-Based Promotions: Utilize seasonal sales, holiday specials, and milestone events to drive sales and enhance engagement. Baby Boomers respond well to promotions tied to familiar occasions.

Fairprice exemplifies the effective use of promotions tailored to Baby Boomers, recognizing their preferences for value and regular savings. It has a regular schedule of promotions that shoppers can anticipate and plan around, fostering loyalty and repeat visits.

They also promote membership benefits to enhance the value proposition for Baby Boomers, encouraging enrollment and active participation.

Use loyalty campaigns

   Image source: Fairprice

 8. Add a Personal Touch

Customers like the feeling that they are seen and prioritized, and the same goes for Baby Boomers. According to PickaGeek, attendants of boutiques in Haji Lane are trained to “remember their regulars’ preferences, greet them warmly, and sometimes even reserve items they feel a particular customer might like.”

How To Market To Baby Boomers in Singapore?

  How To Market To Baby Boomers in Singapore_

In the aging Singapore, Baby Boomers represent an increasingly significant portion of the consumer base. For at least the next two decades, the Silver Market will be one-fifth of the purchasing population. Brands must not overlook this growing market and start creating marketing strategies that target them specifically.

To help marketers build an effective marketing campaign, here is the Baby Boomers’ consumer profile at a glance:

  • Retirees
  • Strong purchasing power
  • Ample free time
  • Seek activities and products to enjoy

Baby Boomers have a unique set of characteristics that make them valuable to marketers:

  1. Big Spenders But Discerning Buyers: Baby Boomers have accumulated wealth over their lifetimes, making them capable of spending more on quality products and services. Though boomers have disposable income, marketers must remember that they are wise with their money. Hence, they are fond of savings promos.
  2. Ample Free Time: With retirement, Baby Boomers have more free time to spend on hobbies, travel, and leisure activities. This makes them a key target for industries such as travel, wellness, and entertainment.
  3. Health and Wellness Focus: Many boomers prioritize their physical and mental health, seeking products and services that help them maintain or improve their well-being. This focus on health presents opportunities for brands in the healthcare, fitness, and wellness sectors.
  4. Family and Social Connections: Seniors often value spending time with family and friends. Products and services that facilitate these connections, such as family-oriented travel packages or social activities, can resonate well with this demographic.
  5. Loyalty to Brands: Baby Boomers are generally loyal customers. Once they find a brand that meets their needs and provides good service, they tend to stick with it. This loyalty can be beneficial for brands that focus on long-term customer relationships.

By understanding and addressing the unique needs and preferences of the Silver Market, brands can tap into a lucrative and growing consumer segment. Crafting marketing campaigns that resonate with Baby Boomers’ values and life experiences will enable brands to build strong, lasting relationships with this important demographic.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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