Radio Advertising’s Golden Opportunity

Radio Readies for a New Boomer Format
August 26, 2019
By: Gina Messick

Today’s college graduates are trending to delay retirement until the age of 75, due largely to college debt.  More and more women are having their first child well into their 30’s as they focus on work and social activities.  America is experiencing a cultural shift in the timing of when people do what they do.  Marketers can expect buying behavior to follow this trend toward the older end of the spectrum.

Pat Paxton of Entercom, America’s second largest radio company, told Inside Radio, “I’m at that point in life where most of my friends are in their 50s. They spend money. They travel the world. They are early adopters, buying the newest electronics. They buy new cars every two to three years. They are more aware of healthcare issues. They eat out multiple times per week.”

Many advertisers neglect the 55+ segment due to a dated marketing notion that claims 25-54, and more specifically 25-34 is the best age for long-term value.  They believe brand exploration only takes place in young adulthood.  They view 55+ consumers as stubbornly brand loyal.  So they focus the majority of their attention (and ad dollars) on younger generations.  But ignoring the 35% of the population that controls 70% of the nation’s disposable income is guaranteed to do your business a disservice, missing out on the $15 trillion that baby boomers are expected to spend by the end of this year.

People over 55 make significant financial decisions.  New technology affects all age groups and all industries.  Baby Boomers are highly engaged online and have learned to embrace technology.  81% of people aged 50-64 and 76% of people above the age of 65 go online daily.  In years past, Boomers trusted brands like Radio Shack, Blockbuster and Toys R Us to fill their retail needs.  Today, with those brands gone, marketers must speak to those 55+ consumers to help them fill the void left by these vanishing retailers.

The numbers show 98% of baby boomers can be reached monthly by radio and, on average, Baby Boomers listen to 2 hours and 3 minutes of radio every day.

Just as social media leverages influencer marketing to impact the millennial, AM/FM listeners welcome radio hosts into their daily routines by tuning in at the same time every day.  People connect with these voices and personalities. 

In a study by Cumulus, 68% of AM/FM listeners can name their favorite radio DJ and more than half would consider them like friends or family.  Brands can leverage this power by having their marketing message endorsed on air by the radio personalities.

Apart from terrestrial radio, national radio personalities have emerged as influencers on podcasts.  Podcasts have surged in popularity and personality-voiced ads on relevant podcasts have become an extremely effective strategy for brands.  Between 2018 and 2019 among the 55+ demo, online audio listenership rose to 21% and exclusive podcast listenership increased by 30%.  As the podcast format grows, it’s a smart idea to tap into this valuable advertising platform now.  

The audio landscape is dynamic yet timeless.  To reach, impact and influence the wealthy Baby Boomer demo, today’s radio is a sound investment.

 
Gina Messick is Advertising Coordinator at The Radio Agency.  You can reach her by email at Gina@TheRadioAgency.com.