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Monday, November 23, 2009

WHAT BOOMERS WANT: Tips for Marketing to the "Spending" Generation

What Boomers Want
with Terri Benincasa, M.A. Ed.M.

Whether you’re a one person service company or a large corporate entity, you are missing the marketing bulls-eye if you stay stuck in last century mode of targeting the used-to-be coveted 18-39 set.

The simple fact is that the folks who have the most disposable income, and a track record of having no qualms about spending it (even in this economic climate), are Baby Boomers, the approximately 78 million Americans (the number world-wide is in the 100’s of millions) born between 1946 & 1964: particularly what we call the “middle” and “leading edge” Boomers, born between 1946 & 1959. What's not being told when we hear news that they're "cutting back" on spending is that it's based on consumption by Boomer standards; they may no longer be spending like drunken sailors, but they still want what they want when they want it, and will find it whether it's with you or your competition.

Why This Market Segment is So Lucrative for You
Beyond this group’s sheer numbers, here are the facts that drive this generation when it comes to spending:

  • 45% of the consumer market is ages 40-70 (as of 2009, Boomers’ age range is 45-63) - That is larger than all the other individual market cohorts combined – they spend a whopping $2.3 trillion annually on goods & services...that's $400 billion more than any other age cohort, and by 2010, Boomers will control about 65% of the available disposable income
  • they are the wealthiest (overall, even given the Great Recession) and best educated generation in the history of the nation, so they pride themselves on both their willingness to spend when it suits them, and their savvy when it comes to deciding where to spend it
  • they are now at the point in their lives where they are ready to settle back and enjoy the fruits of their decades-long labors regardless of economic factors; plus, they don’t “retire” but instead “re-direct” their lives, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make their new life not just a good one…but a great one
  • Boomers have never been ones to deny themselves something they want that will make their lives feel more luxurious, help them to make their age less apparent, or give them the freedom/mobility this “Peter Pan” generation covets so highly.

Does this sound like a target market that would be useful to you? Seems like a no-brainer, but amazing as this is, even the biggest companies, from Kelloggs to Ford, are only now figuring out the power of marketing to Boomers. It's your turn.

So, now that you know this is where you need to be focusing a good portion of your advertising/marketing resources, how do you go about not only getting in front of Boomers, but making yours the kind of product or service they will seek out again and again? Read on!

How to Reach this Market Cohort
Here’s what Boomers want, and if you offer as many as possible, you will get their undivided attention:

  1. Boomer respond to being fully educated on your product/service, its benefits to them, and your approach to providing it – vs. empty marketing jargon – with Boomers, more information is better, and they want to feel like they know you & your expertise
  2. Up-front understanding & addressing of their objections; Boomers have “seen & done it all” - when they see that you are as fastidious as they are about their concerns, they’ll be quite pleased – and much more interested in buying from you…
  3. Boomers want to feel like they’re in control of the entire process from beginning to end (example: they don’t just accept what a doctor tells them as their parents did – they’ve done their own research prior to the visit, know what they want, and don’t stop until they get it…they’ll do the same with you…)
  4. Back to being having “seen & done it all”…they rely on referral, testimonial, & word-of-mouth along with standard advertisements (just advertising alone won’t do the trick)
  5. Boomers love getting everything in one place – that’s why middle-income Boomers love Super Walmart or Super Target, and upper income Boomers want everything brought to them. So if you’re a solo practitioner selling one specific product or service, package yourself with services complimentary to yours. Example: Lawn service with pool service, landscaper & nursery. They can pick which they want, but really like having everything put together for them if they need all or some of the products/services surrounding yours...they respond to messaging that is more than the attributes of what you do or make.
  6. Boomers are not particularly brand loyal – they will go with whatever makes sense to them at the time. So your message needs to speak to how your customers’ needs are met, how it is relevant to their lives today, how it resolves a worry they have, how it makes them healthier, or how it makes them feel better, smarter, happier.

Stay month's entry will cover:

Best Venues for Getting Boomers' Attention
Who in Your Company is Best Positioned to Earn Boomers’ Business
Some (additional) Do’s & Don’ts to Further Refine Your Marketing to Boomers Strategy.

For more information, please visit Terri's TNNW Bio.

COMMENT On This Article!


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Beth Barany said...

Terri, Useful comments for any of us marketing to boomers, whether we're selling products or services. I especially like the point about "been there, seen it all." Yep! That would be my parents! I'll just keep them in mind when I create my marketing content!

Tytel Image Marketing said...

Good subject to post....I agree that boomers want a one-stop-shop, in fact, that's how I have built my business over the last several years. The important aspect is to align with people that have the same core values. I spend as much time prospecting for strategic alliances as new clients. Yep....the boomers have the bucks and they will spend. This is unlike the Gen-x and y'ers (and whatever title follows) who have had too much access to FREE. Remember you get what you pay for.

Jeff Tytel -

tinagleisner said...

Excellent article that supports importance of building quality content about your products & services online. I also like the tip on "one stop shopping" for convenience.

Karl Smith said...

Hi Terri

Great article. I agree with the point "they want to feel that they know"...In a world with sales and marketing - obsessed with themselves and their products - this is a great lesson!



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