The solution to improved sales to the Boomer+ customer is not to be found in a company’s “Senior” or discount programs. You won’t find the solution in the development, planning, and marketing or advertisement departments. You’ll find the solution to the problem of a distorted vision of the Boomer+ customers when CEO’s in large and small companies have a better understanding of these markets. Functional components of the organization will support the vision, goals and strategies established by leadership.
Through a process to change your frame of reference toward the Boomer+ customer, and the frame of reference of your employees, you can make significant progress and improve the position of your company, now and in the future. To begin the process, we suggest that the small business entrepreneur, and the leadership of larger companies:
- Know the physiological, psychological and emotional changes related to the aging process/ Boomer+ customer population (education and knowledge). Understanding behavior is one of the most significant keys to success in this market.
- Be willing to change your frame of reference (paradigm shift). Don’t let “Boomer+ Customer Market Myopia” interfere with an intelligent approach to the Boomer+ customer.
- Critically think through your vision, goals, flexible strategies and service priorities to establish a common construct, set direction and sense of purpose. Planning and prioritizing are major components of product and service improvement to the Boomer+ customer.
- Collaborate to shape a culture that makes superior service to the Boomer+ customer as natural as thinking. In larger organizations, surface a “Champion”, and empower and enable him/her to take the action necessary to assure the vision, goals and strategies of a Boomer+ customer market improvement initiative are actualized. In smaller companies, the entrepreneur is the “Champion”.
- Develop a culture through managing the changes necessary, to support the belief that the sales and services professionals/employees are the most important people in the organization. They are the ones serving the customer. The environment you create for the staff is the world they will create for the Boomer+ customer.
- Know your internal capabilities, and declare war on bureaucracy. Do not allow individual program agenda’s to control your approach to the Boomer+ customer. Begin the process of analyzing your organizations service or product delivery or distribution system with the goal of responding to the life satisfactions needs of this population, and reducing the fragmented approach to this market.
- Know the Boomer+ customer population’s needs and desires. Identify the service gaps. Qualitative and quantitative research is the second most significant key to a workable product or service improvement strategy.
- Apply your acquired knowledge to operations management, product and service planning and decision-making. Avoid using the age of the target market as the determining factor for product/service development or modification. Use your knowledge of Life Stage theory to determine your approach to service and product improvement. Include members of the Boomer+ customer population in your design, delivery and communications development process.
- Question your approach to communicating with the Boomer+ customer. Consider perception, values and physical changes of the target market in your deliberations. Apply the findings of “Split Brain”, and “Cognitive v. Chronological Age” research, as well as other research findings on aging, to your communications efforts. Consider the age of those in your organization responsible for communications to the Boomer+ customer. Generally, younger people/staff cannot empathize with the aging adult population.
- Educate and train your staff to sensitize them to the physiological, psychological and emotional changes brought about by aging. You should design the training to translate such knowledge into product and service development and service, sales, and market planning improvement techniques. Training should be constant, intense, lavish and universal.
- Consider physical facility improvement programs. Tactical actions are relatively simple to implement to create a friendly and appealing environment.
Multi-dimensional and complex, the solution to increasing sales and improving service to Boomer+ Customer must begin with education, understanding and commitment. Action on the first six points is a prerequisite to undertaking the last five. Few groups offer as much potential as Boomer+ customer. You tie your success directly to your frame of reference and the strategic approach you take. You can view service to Boomer+ customers as an opportunity or an unavoidable requirement – the choice is yours.