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Marketing the Boom(ers)

5/5/2014 1:00:50 PM
Article by Mary-Carel Verden

It comes as no surprise—if you are in business, you simply HAVE to pay attention to the Baby Boomers. This has likely been true for most of your time in business. 77 million people were born between 1946 and 1964, which is defined as the baby boomer era according to the U.S. Census. This enormous group of consumers has been a key part of marketing efforts for the past 70 years. Whether it was building homes for those babies to grow up in, cars for them to drive, or product goods for them to use, their desires have driven much of the economy. The sheer volume of people in the “Boom” has guaranteed attention. But, now that they are retiring are they falling off the marketing target? No way!

As Peter B Hubbell puts it in his book “The Old Rush: Marketing for Gold in the Age of Aging”—

"January 1, 2014 marked not the beginning of another new year, but the beginning of a new era: The Age of Aging. This is the year the last of the eighty million Baby Boomers will turn 50 and officially graduate from marketing's coveted eighteen to forty-nine target audience. The Boomers aren't just another generation passing through time — they are the Most Valuable Generation™. Their influence on our culture and the marketing landscape has been both dramatic and unprecedented, and the power of their numbers and wealth will continue to transform the world around them even as they age."

Go Where the Money Is

Baby Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods & services (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey). As the economy improves, it will be the Boomers who are the leading spenders. It’s easy to understand since they control 67% of the country's wealth, or $28 trillion according to the U.S. Census and Federal Reserve.

You want to be in position to help them use their money to create a comfortable and safe environment in which to enjoy their newfound freedom. These consumers are less concerned than previous generations were with saving wealth for their children and more apt to spend their money to enhance their lifestyle and create enjoyable and satisfying experiences.

“This is one of the most dramatic lifestyle shifts we’ve ever witnessed as 10,000 Boomers retire each day for the next 17 years. They are leaving the traditional workplace and returning home, and marketers are faced with a huge opportunity to deliver products and solutions for the new ways the Boomers will live in and use their homes. There are implications and opportunities for marketers of practically every product or service from Consumer Packaged Goods to Financial Services, Home Improvement and even Travel. We believe the new “home-centric” lifestyle that the Boomers are moving toward will be a powerful catalyst for product and marketing innovation for brands that take the time to understand this dynamic,” predicts Peter Hubbell, BoomAgers Founder & CEO.

Baby Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods & services. In fact, Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis (Forrester Research).

Baby boomers take great pride in the appearance of their homes. 27% have had landscaping done in the past year and they are 21% more likely than all American adults to have spent $10,000 or more on home improvement in the past year (Scarborough). The NAHB predicts that the aging in place remodeling market to be $20-$25 billion. That's about 10% of the $214 billion home improvement industry.

Marketing to the Boomers

You already have many Boomers in your client lists. As their needs change, you can easily reach out to them and cross-sell new products and upgrades to existing kitchens and baths that will make their homes easier for those wishing to age in place. Don’t forget the importance of referrals and word-of-mouth. 96% of baby boomers participate in word-of-mouth or viral marketing by passing product or service information on to friends (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).

Don’t underestimate the Boomers use of the internet. Two-thirds of Americans 50+ buy from e-retailers online (Pew). And Baby Boomers spend 27 hours per week online, 2 hours more per week than Millennials (age 16-34) (WSL/Strategic Retail). Get your online presence in place and keep it up-to-date with information on products that increase accessability. The Internet is the most important source of information for baby boomers when they make major market purchases, such as automobiles or appliances (Zoomerang).

To sum up, make sure you don’t miss out on marketing to the Boom. Be sure to check out our recent article by Holly Berecz entitled "How Baby Boomers are Influencing Design". It is filled with information on some of the best products that help address specific needs of the Boom. 

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