A recent Burst Media survey discovered that only 17% of all those surveyed in the 45 and over age groups believe that online advertising is intended for them. So we can assume that online marketing and advertising are neglecting the rich baby boomers – those that control 70% of all the wealth.
A Pew Internet and American Life Project (PIALP) survey also indicates that 70% of all baby boomers are surfing online. Moreover, SeniorNet states that rich boomers 50 and up spend $7 billion every year in online purchases. PIALP forecasts that by 2010, rich baby boomers will outspend every other affluent category by $1 trillion per year and baby boomer spending is expected to exceed $4.6 trillion per year by the year 2015.
So how do you tap into these lucrative markets? We suggest you focus on their life stage. When they were younger, baby boomers were in their “possession” stage of life, accumulating all kinds of “things”. This activity expressed to the world how successful they were. Now, they are entering the stage of life where experiences are more important than possessions (this is not to say they don’t continue to buy things – just not as much).
They want to do business with those that not only provide sought after experiences but want a relationship with them and will take actions to maintain that relationship. They also expect outstanding personal service and if they get it, they will keep coming back and tell their friends. If they don’t get it, they will tell even more of their friends and end the relationship.
The following outlines some insights that should increase your success in these markets:
- Baby boomers, since they are seeking experiences, do not just want to be spectators. Baby boomers want to do it. Travel agents call this “sightdoing vs. sightseeing.”
- When rich baby boomers say they want an experience, they mean they want a top of the line experience. And, they’ll pay for it. Baby boomers also like products and services that save time.
- Your marketing should be honest and authentic. Avoid hyperbole. They’ve lived long enough to know hype when they see it. Goods and services must perform as advertised. Remember baby boomers put a lot of faith in word of mouth referrals.
- Don’t use chronological age to predict who they are and what they’ll do. Remember, we all have a chronological and a cognitive age. Sixty year olds see forty somethings looking back at them in the mirror. In marketing terms, consider “younger images” when selling products and services to baby boomers. “Older images” may cause boomers not to resonate with your message.
- Just like other groups, baby boomers identify with others who reflect their core values, their lifestyle, and their stage of life. Marketing of products to boomers should appeal to their core values and motivators. For example, goods and services that “celebrate the vitality, energy and individuality” of the purchaser are more tempting than those that do not.
- Fun sells. Anything you can do to get a “Wow” reaction will work for you. This approach suggests sensory stimulation, preferably with other people around. The experience has to be social and sensory, as well as quick, easy, and convenient. In other words, fun is no longer fun if it involves too much work.
- They also expect value for their money. Baby boomers do research on goods and services before they spend their money.
When connecting with baby boomers it is critical to remember there is no such thing as a “baby boomer market”. To stereotypically lump all the boomers together is a fool’s folly. As we age we become less not more alike. There exists a vast difference between the mindset of a 47-year-old boomer and a 65-year-old boomer. The younger boomer may be more concerned with work, family and offspring issues, while the older boomer may become nostalgic or become concerned about his/her legacy. Keep differences in mind when marketing to these profitable customers.