I recently met with a company launching a new beauty product for Boomer women. They had tested it via direct-response television, and wondered why women were watching their infomercials but not buying their products. The commercials directed women to a toll-free number and to the brand’s proprietary website to buy the product. They asked us if women 50+ were reluctant to buy beauty products online?
Of course not. Women 50+ are shopping for beauty products online more than they are using any other single distribution channel for the same purpose.
This company’s innovation team had done so many things right – brand name, formulation, packaging, messaging, and their own website – but they had forgotten something important.
They had assumed that engaging women on television and then directing women to a website was enough. What they had forgotten was that Boomer women are just like the rest of us. The way we all go to a website is through Google. And what do we expect to find?
We expect to find a range of search-engine results, including a brand’s own website but also including content and e-commerce options in the form of blogs, review sites, Amazon, and more. If the only result we find is a brand’s own site, the brand immediately loses credibility. We have come to expect a multitude of results that provide specific information but, more importantly, also give us a frame of reference for a new product or service.
This brand had made no investment in building the kind of content and e-commerce options that would have made it seem real and believable to Boomer women.
Boomers describe their path to purchase, but are brands listening?
In recent research conducted jointly with MomCentral, 92% of Boomer women told us they use a search engine before making a purchase. What brands have been slow to realize is that shoppers who use a search engine also expect to find the full range of search results (pointing to both content and commerce) that they find for established brands.
In looking for content – reviews, stories, experiences – that make a new product real and make its claims believable, these Boomers aren’t just passive receptacles for online content. They believe it because they create it, too.
Eighty-five percent of Boomer women tell us that they share information online about their experiences with new brands, products or services if that experience was either great or awful. And they are assuming that other women – the references they trust most – do the same.
As this pattern has developed, their reliance on content from peers has grown, and their reliance on branded content has declined. Seventy-one percent told us that they do not trust what they hear on television and radio. That doesn’t mean that running a commercial or an infomercial is a bad idea; but it does mean that it won’t be more than a starting place for most consumers, who will turn to Google for the next round of information they need next.
What it means when Google is your homepage
As I’ve written elsewhere, brands need to treat Google as their homepage. No longer satisfied with information in a vacuum, consumers now expect to see all brands and products (even new brands and products) immediately surrounded by content that make them credible and by shopping options that make them accessible. It’s true for non-Boomers and Boomers alike.
Don’t bother investing in a marketing plan to launch a new product for Boomers that doesn’t include a plan for generating authentic content, reviews and shopping options online.
Boomers won’t believe in you without it, or find an easy way to make others believe in you, too.