Boomers Remain in the Driver’s Seat

I’m still coming across recently written marketing articles warning of the pitfalls of ignoring the X & Y generations, adults born after the mid-60’s, who are usually characterized as tech-savvy with short attention spans. While I agree that they are important, much of the focus since the 1980’s has already been on marketing to them. Because the 80 million baby-boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, still control most of the money, more of the focus needs to be shifted back to them now.

According to Nielsen:
At a time when most analysts are predicting much slower growth in consumer spending, manufacturers and marketers need to look at every opportunity to grow market share. Boomers can represent tremendous potential to those who know how to reach them. A new report by Nielsen in collaboration with BoomAgers, examines this opportunity and guides the way forward with actionable insights into this valuable [group], dubbed the “Most Valuable Generation.”

Although they may not be the first to adopt new technologies, Boomers represent one-third of all online and social media users. To a larger degree than generations preceding them, Boomers spend time and money on hobbies and interests. They watch less video online than younger generations, but they are a driving force in the growth of technology-based sales, with a third of them shopping online, and the over-50 segment out-spending all of them. Consumers over 50 spend close to $90 billion a year on cars, buying more cars and spending more per car. The Internet is their primary source for comparison shopping for major purchases such as cars, and they spend much more than other groups on travel.

Now that you know where to reach them, the next question is how to get and hold their attention. Consider your own interactions with Boomer customers. What factors and approaches won them over and kept them coming back? Here are some general suggestions to incorporate in your interactions and advertising to Boomers:

1. Foster mutual respect for needs, opinions and time.
2. Be honest and forthright, but not pushy.
3. Treat them as individuals.
4. Avoid incomplete sentences, slang and jargon.
5. Most people in their 50’s and 60’s consider themselves still young, not relics from “the good old days.” Don’t treat them as elderly.
6. Focus on their values and future goals when selling to them. 

Once you have engaged the Boomers, work on relationship building to gain and keep their trust and confidence. While getting them to your business is important, retaining boomers as customers is essential to keeping you in the driver’s seat.

Adam Irby