Influencer Marketing For Boomers: It's About Experience, Not Marketing

Influencer marketing is not only the fastest-growing trend in marketing; it’s more than a trend and appears poised to become a permanent fixture in marketing and communications planning. 84% of marketers say they will use it in 2017.

While influencer marketing is digital by nature, it’s not like digital advertising, and it’s not just about numbers. You have to understand exactly how your target market is most successfully influenced, and then find the influencers who can do that work for you. 

In addition, influencing Boomers is entirely different from influencing Millennials. 

We recently asked 1,000 Boomer and Gen-X women to help us understand how they are influenced, and how they influence others. What they told us confirmed that influence changes with age.

Make Them Laugh and Learn



When we divided respondents by age, we saw that the qualities that differentiate Gen-X and Boomer women from Millennials continue to change as they age.

Two examples: humor and education increase in value (and influence) as women age.

If you are trying to influence Boomers, make sure that the influencers you engage can make them laugh. Life teaches many women to laugh at themselves, and they are more likely to follow bloggers who do so themselves (even on campaigns about serious topics). 

Similarly, their own experiences in life mean that women value experience more — and trust each other more – as they age. As a result, they are looking for and they are more likely to follow bloggers who offer specific tutorials and lessons based on their own experience.

Younger women are simply more willing to be influenced by messages that do not come from the direct experience of other people they trust. Women aged 35 - 45, for example, are more likely to make a purchase decision based on an on-air product feature (like a “Today” show segment) and even on celebrity endorsements than women aged 45 - 65.

Simply stated, as women age, the value of experience grows, while the value of “marketing” declines.

Baby Boomers make great influencers and great influencees (if that is a word) because they really like listening to and influencing each other — perhaps more than any other demographic segment. If you’re ready to work with them on influencer marketing campaigns, just remember to pick bloggers and influencers who reflect the qualities of trust that Boomers look for in others. 

And then make sure they actually know how to reach their peers. 

Using the Right Social Media – and Email 

Social media is part of every influencer campaign, but all social media is not equal, and you can’t assume that an influencer strategy developed for Millennials will work when targeting Gen-X or Boomer women. 

If you are targeting Millennials, you have to engage bloggers who are active on Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. But Boomer women are far more likely to use Facebook — and less likely to use other platforms — than their younger peers. And Facebook is the place where they are most likely to follow bloggers. 

Another place you can’t ignore? Their in-box. Email is still the best way to reach many Boomers, and over 50% of women told us they follow bloggers by subscribing to their newsletters. 

It would be convenient if selecting influencers were as easy as selecting a media property for an ad or a reporter for a pitch. But choosing bloggers means cultivating them, knowing them, learning how they reach and influence their market, and then trusting them to talk about your brand in a way that will make others talk about it, too.

2 comments about "Influencer Marketing For Boomers: It's About Experience, Not Marketing".
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  1. Jim Gilmartin from Coming of Age, February 13, 2017 at 10:56 a.m.

    Stephen's points are on the mark.  As overall consumer demand shrinks and companies look for new segments of growth, the Baby Boomer women consumer represents a significant opportunity now and in the long term. But, marketing to women doesn’t mean think “pink.” It means you have to understand who they are and that a 55-year-old woman is not simply a 30-year-older version of her 25-year-old self.

    Getting Baby Boomer women to join your brand is not one single step. There is no magic bullet. It's a systematic rethinking of how you present your plan to women consisting of dozens of subtle shifts and fine alterations. Boomer women want you to speak to their heads and to their hearts. And, if you’re successful, women will deliver more profit to you through being loyal and making more referrals.

    They want you to understand them. To recognize their needs, values and dreams. They don’t want to do business with a person that condescends to them. They don’t want to be inconvenienced, made to wait, argue or defend themselves. Moreover, women are three times more likely as men to recommend brands when they know friends are looking for a particular product or service. Although men’s brains are wired differently, if you meet the needs of women you’ll most likely meet the demands of men. But not the other way around.

  2. Stephen Reily from IMC/Vibrant Nation, February 13, 2017 at 2:50 p.m.

    Thanks, Jim.  I especially lke your point 

    "Moreover, women are three times more likely as men to recommend brands when they know friends are looking for a particular product or service."

    In terms of influencer marketing, this means that women who are influenced (usually by a peer) are 3X more likely to become influencers themselves.  They represent a great investment.

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