Marketing to Baby Boomers

An American turns 50 every seven seconds. There are 76 million of Americans age 50+ out there right now. Trillions of dollars of spending power is in their hands.

So what’s new when we’ve been marketing to them for years already? The difference is that these individuals have been defined in the past by their age and now need to be defined by the patterns of their lives.

Over time, they have become complex and complicated consumers. One-size-fits-all does not work. The challenge will be to understand the segment as a whole and then design solutions that address specific needs for a complex group of people.

The world is experiencing huge demographic changes. Over the next 30 years, most countries will undergo huge growth in the number of 50+ citizens, along with a corresponding decline in the number of youth. This group is living longer than any other generation, and collectively they are rapidly becoming a huge economic force.

This force will end up being the catalyst for massive change within many industries. These demographic changes have created a new, profitable, and challenging market segment: the baby boomers.

To fully serve the boomers, a shopper marketing agency like birdsong gregory needs to understand the intricacies of desired lifestyles combined with ideas about aging, working, retirement, and family. Only then can a more integrated and updated approach to this market be developed. It’s not your grandparents’ golden years anymore. Understanding the total picture of how boomers see their lives will yield a rich and complex view of the opportunities when reaching for this vast audience.

Lifestyle is a Big Deal
Research shows that boomers are planning on living long and living fully. As a result, huge market for new products and services will emerge. Already, 80% of luxury travel is being done by boomers, over 40% of cars are bought by them, and they already have 75% of the wealth in this country. Furthermore, the upcoming liquidation of billions of retirement assets gives this group the means to realize the lifestyle they want. This wealth creates huge opportunities for travel, education, homes, foods, goods, and services to support the various aspirations of this segment.

As boomers age, they will have physical, emotional, educational, and technical needs to be fulfilled to help them achieve their desired lifestyles. Think about the product opportunities for car manufacturers who need to serve aging yet technically savvy consumers. Intelligent transportation systems will need to be developed to solve vision, reflex, and ergonomic issues. Aging Americans won’t stop driving due to limitations; they will just demand new products to overcome them.

New Terms Around Work and Employment
Although boomers are veering away from rocking chairs, research shows the desire for achieving a balanced life as they age. As a result, the definition of work is changing as boomers start to move toward traditional retirement ages in their careers. Trends show that new, part-time, and modified careers are all on the table along with the need for continuous skill refinement and new learning.

This will create new forms of employment that challenge the traditional 9-5 routines. A large percentage of boomers plans to continue working in the next stage of life. A new recruiting market will emerge as skilled boomers are asked to backfill due to declining availability of younger populations. Even the concept of volunteering is changing as boomers divide their free time. Industries will emerge that are addressing the work style, compensation, and benefit needs of this generation.

New Views on Aging — Growing Younger
Advances in medicine, healthcare, and drugs allow for longer and healthy lives. As a result, new industries are emerging to address aging needs in ways never used before. Entire industries around anti-aging products are emerging. The recent proliferation of cosmetics and cosmeceuticals come to mind as a market that will continue to explode.

Most interesting to our Charlotte ad agency is the marked change in recent ad campaigns that show aging people as far different from traditional views of what “old” is, and which display more positive images with which to identify. Aging with grace and dignity will become a mantra allowing boomers to stay on the path to achieving work, life, and retirement goals.

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