How to Market to Baby Boomers
If you want to write about the largest generation in history, you need to know how to blog for Baby Boomers…meaning…
- how do you get 80 million people to read your stuff?
- what makes them tick?
- why do they like to get their own way?
Know your Boomer audience…the “Baby” has grown up!
Insights on this Fickle Group
At some point in history, someone realized there was this growing giant and called them “Baby Boomers”. The media, the marketers and even governments began to take notice.
- This giant is huge
- This giant knows change
- This giant is aware of itself
Baby Boomers have now reached the stage in their growth where they are now the prime influencers on society and hold the highest percentage of personal wealth over all other age groups.
If you want to write for or sell to this group you need to understand some things about them.
The Growing Pains of “Privilege”
The majority of Baby Boomers were not born into grand homes or a lot of disposable income. Given that there could easily be 4 or even 6 siblings in each family meant that there were many mouths to feed and bodies to be clothed. Leftovers and hand-me-downs were the norm.
Frugality and earning your own way was something that Boomers did by necessity; which gave rise to phrases such as, “a penny earned” and “get a job” (often a job for life, giving rise to another phrase, “lifer”).
Learning to be self-sufficient, understanding the importance of family, and redefining the world on their own terms are characteristics of Baby Boomers that were learned in a technologically advancing and self-aware world. Boomers refused to accept the world as it once was and, instead, redefined it on their own terms and molded it to meet their expectations and requirements.
The Expectations of Adulthood
Following their “childhood”, Baby Boomers grew up into adults who:
- influenced change; the originators of “peace marches”,
- bought the newest cars and houses; in keeping up with “the Jone’s”
- became loyal brand customers; industries were built for them
- adapted to continuous change; the only thing constant was change itself
Baby Boomers expected, if not outright demanded, that the world improve itself and often became the prime movers of the change they wanted to see. Whether they are doing this through their volunteering, through the various causes they support, or by throwing their collective weight behind preferred political parties, Boomers directly influenced change and improvement.
Baby Boomers are also finding themselves torn between two other generations…their parents and their children. Very often, before their own kids have even moved out or even while still paying for post-secondary education, this “sandwich generation” are also finding themselves needing to look after their own parents. Whether they take their parents into their own homes, find them homes, and even become legal guardians, Baby Boomers feel obligated to care for their own.
However, even with the responsibilities at home, Boomers are the “new jet set” and are finding exotic travel destinations as their new “thing”. Whole industries targeted at this group have sprung up and Boomers are being pampered in the manner to which they believe they deserve.
The Anticipation of Retirement
Some time, commencing around 2007, Baby Boomers began retiring. By 2020 it has been suggested that approximately 25% of employees will be at least 55 years of age. This is resulting in retirement incomes, extra income, and online income as the current Baby Boomer trend that cannot be ignored.
Retirement planning and consultants are popping up at banks, the corner investment store, education courses at work, and even the ever-present internet that Boomers are taking to like the proverbial “duck to water”. Helping Boomers retire with disposable income has become the new mantra of the marketers and opportunities.
And we cannot forget that with our increased life expectancy, we are also working longer. While this brings with it challenges for the younger workforce, and requires a separate examination, it does mean that Baby Boomers are able to work longer. Whether this is at their current job or they take on a part-time job to supplement their retirement income, Boomers are demanding that mandatory retirement ages disappear.
It’s also interesting to note that more and more Baby Boomers are not wanting to leave their inheritance to their kids but, rather, to various causes and scholarships. This includes things like hospital foundations, libraries, world missions, etc. Oh sure, they’ll leave the family heirlooms to their offspring but there is definitely the desire to also improve charities and such…essentially…the world they grew up in and helped shaped.
So does this help you to understand this generation if you wish to blog about them or are one of them and want to blog about your Boomer life?
You must seek to understand your audience and Baby Boomers are no different. Their “coming of age” and their current place in society has its roots in:
- how they came to be,
- who they came to be
- and what they plan to accomplish
How to Market to 450 Million Baby Boomers
To be frank, I did not know that I belonged to a group of over 450 million people worldwide, but I did know that marketers want to know how to market to us, sometimes regardless of means. Although I’m not from the United States, I did know that there are over 77 million Baby Boomers in that country alone.
Here’s a few other things I didn’t know:
- Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 today in the U.S. alone
- There are almost 7 billion people in the world
- Baby Boomers make up 6.5% of them
- We are still credited with spending over $2 trillion worldwide
What an influential group to belong to. Want some insights on how to market to us?
Remember Where We Came From
Baby Boomers were born after the Great Depression, from 1929 to 1939 and also after World War II, from 1939 to 1945. Then, commencing in 1946 and going to 1964, millions of babies were born and thus was created the generation that came to be known as the Baby Boomers.
As we burst onto the world stage the economy took an upswing and our lives at home were broadcast on radio and television waves. Baby Boomers grew up seeing the world on the tube and began acting from our “freedom” with such events as peace walks, hippies, and “bugs”.
We quickly enjoyed the pampered and self-indulgent lives…if such a thing exists when you have siblings that number in the half to full dozens. Bulk buying power became the norm at home, as did hand-me-downs and the 6:00 news.
Who (Or What) Did We Become?
Baby Boomers may have begun their careers in the mail room but we quickly moved into the ranks of middle and upper management. We became the visionaries and dignitaries of the brand companies that were created for our money and pleasure.
Here’s a snapshot of a typical Boomer’s life:
The growth of universities, multi-million dollar businesses, and even marriage and divorce can be attributed to Baby Boomers growing and flexing their “societal-muscles” as we set the tone for “the accepted way to do things”…at least for our generation.
- We bought
- We fought
- We innovated
- We enjoyed
Whatever you may think of us Baby Boomers, you must recognize the incredible influence and affect we have had on society. This has led to…