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Direct Response Marketing

Harnessing the Boom

1 Nov, 2008 By: Bridget McCrea Response

Direct response marketers take aim at America’s largest demographic.


Echoing Kutchinsky's earlier words, Eden says one industry doing particularly well with the generation right now is insurance and financial services. Her firm has been working on campaigns that sell life insurance to adults aged 50 and up. She says the product goes over well with the Boomers because its campaign doesn't "talk to them like they are 80 years old." In other words, Baby Boomers may be cresting the 60-plus delineation line, but most don't feel like it. "A Baby Boomer is as old as he or she feels or thinks," says Eden. "It's not so much of an age thing, as a psyche thing."

When targeting Baby Boomers, many of the traditional rules of direct response still apply. For example, Medico says direct response marketers that can craft an appealing offer that creates a value proposition for the consumer are the ones that achieve the most success with the demographic.

A piece of exercise equipment should not only be demonstrated for its functionality, but should be accompanied by a message that shows Boomers how the product promotes good heart health. "It's about playing up the added-value premiums," says Medico, "that make consumers sit up, take notice and buy."

Too many times, Kutchinsky says, marketers aim too low or too high with their campaigns, and come up empty-handed. Others shoot for the entire market, not realizing that it's fragmented. "You have to consider the whole psychology of buying behavior by giving the Boomers a sense of ownership," says Kutchinsky. "You have to make them feel like they are 'someone,' and not just a mass."

Achieving Success

Those companies that have honed their direct response campaigns for the Baby Boomer audience are reaping the rewards of their efforts. "Because this generation has a lot of disposable income, we see the benefits reflected in results across various channels, including DRTV," says Savage. "It also creates demands for brands that are accessible to everyday Americans, especially in beauty and healthcare products. Boomers are more willing to spend the money on those products."

Expect the Baby Boomer generation to become even more important for marketers in the future, says Medico, who sees purveyors of insurance, financial, health and wellness products as being a good fit to create DRTV campaigns that target the generation. "Baby Boomers are at a point where they want to retire and spend," says Medico. "They want to do all of the things that they've postponed, and if they've saved enough, they can start living."

And remember, says Koeppel, that improved healthcare and medicine have many Boomers thinking that they can live past 100 years old — thus creating the potential for long-term customers for the firms that put the effort in now. "As a group, they're comfortable with aging, but they want to look, be and feel healthy," says Koeppel. "For help, they'll turn to the marketer that conveys the product itself, its benefits and how it will help the Boomer achieve his or her goals."

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