Production House: Bank on the Boomers

Barbara Kerry

“TV just doesn’t work anymore. Too many eyeballs are on digital devices now.”

Those of us who continue to market successfully on television are relentlessly confronted with this “truth,” yet our experience has been that TV is still the biggest driver of impressions, provides a lift to all marketing channels, and — given the right target ­— can deliver enormously successful results.

The operative words in that previous sentence: right target.

It may be true that for the youngest generations, digital video tends to be a replacement for TV. However, Baby Boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — tend to add digital on top of television viewing. After all, they grew up with TV — it’s practically part of their DNA. 

Here are some relevant stats, according to eMarketer:

  • Boomers watch 40-50 hours of TV per week.
  • Overall, 196.3 million U.S. adults will watch pay TV (cable, satellite, or telco).
  • The number of U.S. pay-TV viewers ages 55 and older will continue to rise in the coming years while every other age group users will decline.

So, Boomers most definitely still watch TV. What’s more, they also are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Yes, that’s right: you can reach them on multiple platforms and multiple times. Something else about those Boomers: they have money. According to a 2017 study by Tiburon Strategic Advisors, “Families amassed $79 trillion in net worth in 2014, the majority of which went straight to Baby Boomers, who already own homes and make up 75 percent of the market (for financial advisors).”

Which is why it probably shouldn’t be surprising that one recent campaign skewed higher than anticipated — 55-plus. But, hey, success is success, right? What’s more, that same campaign translated to an ROI-driven Facebook campaign that delivered a higher ROI than TV reaching a much younger target.

With all that said, there is no argument that we are in an omnichannel arena now, which presents a wealth of challenges. You are not alone if you find yourself struggling to answer questions like:

  • Do we have the necessary talent, technology, and process in place? Your team needs to include experienced DRTV marketers, as well as those who speak “digital” as a second language. You must leverage the best technology available to track your results so you can manage your campaign to them. Campaign management must be an integral part of the overall process, which begins with market analysis and modeling and continues through fulfillment, retention, and remarketing.
  • Do we have the right strategy laid out? This is the million- (or multi-million) dollar question, and one that you never know the exact answer to until the results are in. However, a smart, strategic testing strategy will help you refine your initial strategy for optimal results.
  • Are we able to efficiently execute that strategy? Be brutally honest with yourself. If you don’t have the capacity or expertise to execute a comprehensive direct sales campaign strategy, do not try to learn on the job. Trial and error is expensive, and simple mistakes or oversights due to lack of experience can effectively hamstring a campaign.
  • Are we clear on which platforms will best reach our target audience? Don’t rely on your gut. Seek out insights from those who live in the world of demographics and psychographics, and then test, test, test.
  • Do we have confidence in the attribution model we’re using as a basis for decision-making? Simply put: garbage in, garbage out. If you can’t trust your data — maybe because your systems aren’t specifically designed to measure the many variables in direct response — then you can’t use your data to make decisions. 

But wait, there’s more! How does your customer retention strategy fit into your overall media plan? It’s well documented that it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one, so have you given just as much thought to retention as acquisition? Money spent here might be a better play than funding a lot of digital media just because you feel you should.

We all know you have to be highly strategic about where you spend your media dollars to get the most bang for your buck. Right now, go where the eyeballs and the dollars belong to the same people: go for the Boomers — and do it on TV.