There are 76 million Baby Boomers in the United States, representing 40% of total consumer demand, and 48% of discretionary income. But Boomers are feeling left out in the cold by marketers. “There’s an unmistakable youth bias in brand communications, and it’s not a new problem,” writes UP Market. “It deals with the unabashed over-representation of younger-looking (and acting) people in the marketing messages that we see and hear each day.”
Although money may be tight, nest eggs cracked, Boomers still represent a sizable consumer segment. In fact, they have an estimated $3 trillion in spending power. They are holding onto jobs far into what they wanted to be retirement, so the money is still rolling in. How can brands market to Boomers today and into tomorrow?
Strength and Quality — James Dean, Marlon Brando, Steve Jobs and even Barack Obama have sported Levis jeans. The famous denim is known for its durability and toughness. Levis, unlike your piece-of-junk dryer, is among many brands that Boomers can say, they make them just like they used to. It’s partly nostalgic, but mostly the search of quality. Levis, along with other quality brands, such as Volkswagen, should continue to be big hits with Boomers in the next five years.
Personalize Me — According to a study by Focalyst, AARP and the Kantar Group, Boomers are more likely to be brand loyal to a service rather than product brand. Boomers want to “interact with brands that provide personalized service and seem to care about us and we’ll pay more to do it,” writes the blog Baby Boomer Insights. If, however, you are a product brand, it’s your task to make customer service better to create a personalized connection with Boomers. Or, what is more personalized than Facebook? Yes, Boomers are a growing audience on the social network — comprising 12 percent, according to Quantcast– and will continue in the next five years.
Health First — Though we might think of a young, twenty-something when we think of yoga or health drinks, Boomers are also health conscious. They have a desire to live healthy, longer lives than their parents and are eating healthier and are maintaining their activity levels. Travel resources, like Boomeropia.com and Club Med will increase in value as Boomers finish their “encore careers.”
Still Young at Heart — With a generation that came of age with Easy Rider, Boomers still love that thrill of the open road and sense of rebellion that so inspired their youth. According to the NY Times, the average age of Harley Davidson’s target demographic is 49, up from 42 five years ago. Brands that can reach into Boomer’s youth and re-ignite that sense of adventure and excitement — particularly in travel — are going to flourish in the next five years, given the economic environment gets sunnier. Expect liberating brands such as BMW and Harley to grow in Boomer favor.