The Boomers–all 78 Million Of Them and $2.3 trillion in annual spending dollars…

Posted on July 19, 2008. Filed under: -- Uncategorized |


By Molly Greaves

I’m reading Boomer Consumer and here are some quick notes in case you’re interested in some interesting facts…

Why marketers should still focus on today’s Boomer Consumer:

ACCORDING TO THE 2006 BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS CONSUMER EXPENDITURE STUDY, THE 78 MILLION BOOMERS ARE AT THEIR PEAK EARNING YEARS AND SPEND MORE ANNUALLY ON CONSUMER GOODS AND SERVICES ON A PER CAPITA BASIS THAN ANY OTHER GENERATION. PLUS, THERE ARE SO MANY MORE BOOMERS THAN OTHER GENERATIONS THAT WHEN YOU MULTIPLY THE PER CAPTIA FIGURE BY 78 MILLION YOU REALIZE THAT TODAY’S BOOMERS SPEND SOME 2.3 TRILLION ANNUALLY ON CONSUMER GOODS AND SERVICES.  THAT’S SOME $400 BILLION MORE THAN ANY OTHER COHORT. pg 15

-One out of 3 adults over 21 in our country is a Baby Boomer.

-In Congress, 70% elected were boomers in 2006!

-Of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies, some 80% or 399 are Boomers.

-Only 24% say they’ve experienced a midlife crisis.

-Half of all grandparents alive today are Boomers.

-Already 30% say they’ve survived major illness and 32% have changed their diet due to medical conditions.

-93% of Boomers state that exercise is a primary way to manage healthy aging. Only 27% do it regularly and 21% do it infrequently. So, 53% don’t bother at all.  

-US population growth is driven by immigration; our fertility rate is at the rate of sustaining the population, not growing it.

-Boomers at 50 and older aren’t anywhere near done consuming. They will buy things marketed to them for 20 years or more.

-Boomers aren’t particularly brand loyal or set in their ways, opening the door for talented marketers to persuade them to try new products. 

-Boomers feel some 14 years younger than they are, but that doesn’t mean they should be marketed that way. They may “feel” 35-40 but they know they are not that same person.

-Boomers are driven, transformational, and “self” centered. 

6 traits of the boomer include:

1. Entitlement

2. Personal Gratification

3. Work Ethic

4. Control

5. Optimism 

6. Won’t accept the status quo. 

 

You must market to each person differently. You must figure out their Life Stage, which is critically important in determining potential behavior.   Do they have kids? How old are the kids?  Do they still live at home? Are their parents still alive? Where do the parents live and are they in good health? Does the consumer work? Retired? Obviously each Life Stage comes with it’s own needs and wants.

Same goes for their socio-economic status. Where do they live—in a home, condo, or apartment? What are their interests and activities? Do they have the means to satisfy their wants and needs? 

When marketing to Boomer Consumers, the proof is in the science. They state that compelling messages work better than just presenting just straight facts. Marketers need to present emotionally compelling reasons and not simply list facts and figures. 

Don’t forget that when you market, you need to 

1. Get somebody’s attention

2. Communicate Something

3. Persuade the viewer or reader to think, feel, or act differently. 

**The first rule is to grab their attention, then it’s very important to understand what today’s Boomer pays attention to, and what they ignore.  They ignore negative messages.

It’s been said that the first half of your one’s life is shaped by the history they experience, and the second half is when they shape the history.

Boomers aren’t really concentrating on”becoming someone” and instead focus on “being someone.” Life becomes more about the journey and less about the destination.  So, they say that the underlying motivation for consuming behavior in the 2nd half of life , from age 40 onward, is more inner-directed and less socially driven.  So, marketers must be able to tap into their hearts, minds and wallets.

It’s not about age; it’s about values and experiences.

Quotes-

Consumers over the age of 50 will buy things marketed to them. They also will not purchase from those marketing to them as “old” as they see “old age” far off into the future. 

Today’s average Boomer is 51 and that means “old age” won’t happen until 24 or so years into the future (2030 for that median-aged Boomer). This is great news for marketers since only in a few categories do consumers make brand choices early in life and stay with them. Boomers are open for change 

They aren’t about to stop consuming just because they’ve reached life’s midpoint. If anything, they are only halfway done.

America’s largest, wealthiest and most influential generation in American history. It is also one that marketers today cannot afford to ignore. 

Baby Boomers are first to be raised in front of a TV, during the Cold War and the Vietnam War. They remember deaths of JFK, MLK, RFK, and images of Watergate , Civil Rights, Elvis, All in the Family were burned upon their collective consciousness.

Boomers have been driving the engine of the American economy since they came of age in the 1970’s. Since they made up the bulk of the 18-49 demographic group, there was a huge focus on them , and it was indeed, truly all about “them.”

In 1996 Boomers began to turn 50 years old, and things changed dramatically.

Every 7 seconds a Baby Boomer is turning 50 in America. That’s about 10,000 Boomers per day, 365.

Safe bet that Boomers have the “not dead” nor “seniors” attitude.  They are a new demographic segment, and have vast reserves to disposable income, and are anxious to spend it on new products and services.

TIPS

Don’t say retirement, rather talk about the future. They dread the “R” word.  And over the past years, “Senior Citizen” has developed to have strong negative connotations. Marketers try to avoid this by developing lists of transparent euphemisms: “mature adults,” “active adult,” “golden years,” “aging consumers,” “aging Boomers,” “third agers,” or anything they can tag with the word “silver,” or “mature.”  The problem is that although they may carry less baggage, when it comes to Boomers, non are acceptable. 

Boomers over 50 feel ignored but respond well to advertising.

You can check out http://www.boomerconsumer.com and the site can be accessed by typing “boomer” and the password of “c0nsum3r”

Dove came out with a successful ad by portraying “Pro-Aging” vs. “Anti-Aging.” You can check it out at here. The book talks about Dove often, claiming that their marketing campaign shows a “positive” understanding of today’s Boomer Consumer. 

EDUCATION IS KEY FACE TO

FACE MARKETING IS KEY TOO

 

Boomer Consumer had a survery with a series of questions they asked to over 1,400 consumers about advertising in general. They first asked consumers about a list of attributes (below) often associated with advertising.

They then asked them how important each dimension was to them personally, and they responded on a 5 point scale.  Below are the results with those selecting “VERY IMPORTANT” or “SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT” on their questionnaire.

What they found was that Boomers over 50 told them the most important attributes were the basics:

91% said “GIVE ME THE INFORMATION I NEED”

91% also said: “MAKE IT EASY FOR ME TO GET MORE INFORMATION”

91% said: “BE BELIEVABLE”

87% said: “IS EASY TO READ OR FOLLOW”

85% agreed: “BE ENJOYABLE” 

84% hope: “INCREASE MY INTEREST IN THE PRODUCT OR SERVICE”

84% said: ” GET MY ATTENTION”

82% say: “UNDERSTAND MY NEEDS”

73% said: “SHOWS PEOPLE AND LIFESTYLES I CAN RELATE TO”

73% said: “TARGETS PEOPLE MY AGE”

19% said: “TARGETS PEOPLE YOUNGER THAN ME”

Boomers tell Boomer Consumer that they want more information and that the advertisers fail.

Succeeding in marketing to Boomer’s is tough work but the payoff is huge.  But, it can be different if you remember that Boomer’s want more information, not less. Marketers and advertisers need to deliver relevant, detailed advertising that connects with today’s Boomer Consumer. 

Boomer’s want advertising that gives them information they need, make it easy to get more information, and are believable. However, Boomers blieve marketers and advertisers are failing to do this. 

Boomers feel most advertising is targeting younger people, and depicting people in lifestyles and unrelated to them. As a result, they are less interested in the product or service advertised.

If your information isn’t in your marketing materials, make sure you can find it on the web. Boomers will seek out info online and want the process to be easy and the messages to be consistent with what they’ve seen or heard via traditional media.

Make sure your advertising contains enough relevat, emotionally compelling information. Remember that more, rather than less copy is always better for your best prospects.

 

Summary ” Today’s Boomer is a moving target. How they deal today about any one topic or any one category will change and evolve just as it always has. and knowing today how they feel won’t tell you what they’ll want in 5 years. No one knows exactly how 78 million Boomers will change our lives and theirs. What we do know is that they will continue to have an impact on our society and economy.

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