Ramble On – Don’t Forget the Boomers
Posted by andrew.mockridge | 12 November
Believe it or not, Baby Boomers are still kicking. While the prolific generation (born 1946-1964) has begun to show signs of age, these rolling stones aren’t gathering moss. The over 76 million U.S. Boomers control 67% of the country’s wealth, exerting more economic power than any other generation alive (Immersion Active). For Marketers, knowing who they actually are and what they want is key, and this means interrogating common notions that Boomers are stuck in their ways, motivated by tradition, or driven by routine. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. The time has come to set aside the Millennial puzzle and to examine the value in speaking to a generation that is clearly still booming.
Shattering the stereotypes of miserly consumer behavior with which they’re often labeled, Baby Boomers dominate US consumer spending. 50-68 year olds represent only 35% of the US adult population and fork out $400 billion more than other generations. Boomers spend most in nearly every category, accounting for an impressive 55% of all CPG sales (Nielsen). Moreover, Boomers have a powerful word-of-mouth effect on the brands they buy, with 96% sharing reactions to products and services with friends and family (ThirdAge and JWT boom). While their full wallets and healthy spending habits are often overlooked, it is perhaps Boomers’ outlook on aging that challenges common misconceptions most.
A psychographic analysis of your favorite 50-68 year old reveals that members of this generation are seeking the fountain of youth. Among notable findings about the Boomer mindset is the difference in their perceived age and actual age. According to BusinessWire, Baby Boomers surveyed reported feeling 13 years younger than their age and affirmed that “old age” was still on the distant horizon at 80 years old. With such a pervasive “forever young” mentality, Boomers are enthusiastically committing to staying as active and current as the generations that follow them.
In the case of the Boomer, feelings of youth and vitality translate directly into action. Within the age group, over 50% report exercising regularly, and 40% report taking up a new hobby. The generation so often pegged as set in their ways and skeptical are enrolling in yoga classes and taking painting lessons. Not only dedicated to physical activity, Boomers are also cultivating their minds, with around one third pursuing educational experiences (BusinessWire). The notion of quiet retirement has profoundly changed with this generation, as its members are dedicated to lifelong physical and mental growth.
The implications for advertisers and marketers are clear. Rather than shelving the Boomers to gather dust, those interested in consumer appeal should focus on engaging their spirit of inner youth. Brands can represent their awareness in ads targeting the spirited retiree, while offering dancing lessons and art classes as promotional incentives for purchase. By ditching the traditionalist clichés and engaging the real Boomer, brands can target and convert a loyal generation with plenty of life to live. Apparently, you can buy them love, and it’s a whole lotta love.
Written by Patrick Futrell