Baby Boomer Markets

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Here are some interesting bits of information I found on a website called Coming of Age. Established in 1991, Coming of Age is The Online Baby Boomer & Senior Marketing Agency. The Coming of Age team does website development, email campaigns, advertising, and social media marketing. 
The excerpts below provide insights into marketing to today's seniors and boomer. I found the observations helpful and instructive. I hope you do too.
So, What Makes These Generations Tick?
If your product or service is, or can be, attractive to these generations, your company needs to come to terms with the fact that what you have to do to capture a more seasoned customer is often not the same as what you do to entice younger populations. Let's revisit what makes this generation tick:
  • Born between the turn of the century and WW II
  • Country's 1st "Senior Citizens"
  • Experienced economic difficulty during childhood
  • Triumphed over the great depression, Germany and the Japanese
  • Built the suburbs
  • Fueled an economic boom
  • Cheered when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
  • Accomplished goals through hard work & made sacrifices
  • Created the most conformist culture of the twentieth century
  • Came of age when discipline and self-sacrifice were cornerstones of their outlook
  • Hard workers with a self-sacrificing commitment to bettering society
  • Shared the same generational experiences and developed the same basic values and motivations
  • Rebuilt America after WW II ensuring the foundations of a better life resulting in a sense of responsibility. Loyalty, patriotism and teamwork typical characteristics
  • Hard work its own reward, financial security through savings, the good of the group before the good of the individual, and a belief that the good life had to be earned are typical values
  • First to fully participate in the American dream
  • Success was measured in tangible, economic terms - homes, cars, appliances - value was a synonym for price
  • Respect they feel for institutions and there desire to conform translated into an enduring loyalty toward brand name products patterns
  • Crime and personal safety are some of their chief worries
  • Like to associate with those of similar views and backgrounds
  • Don't like advertising that assaults their infirmaries and reminds them of their problems
  • Respond to advertising that plays to the notion that they overcame daunting odds and have reached a payoff point
  • Reached a level of financial comfort where they are less likely to deny themselves life's pleasures
  • Spend money wisely and responsibly
  • Less likely to try products before anyone else
  • Concerned that purchasing products may stigmatize them
  • Marketing messages that focus on the intrinsic attributes of a product are less effective in senior markets than in younger markets
  • Marketing messages that stress "luxury" or self-indulgent services are generally less effective in senior markets than in younger markets
  • In making discretionary expenditures, seniors respond more favorably to products and services that they perceive as facilitating desired experiences
  • Typically tends to respond more favorably to marketing messages that emphasize introspective or altruistic values. They respond less favorably to marketing messages that emphasize selfish interests
  • Have a strong aversion to embellished claims and to what they perceive as misleading imagery
  • Cognitive patterns become less abstract (left brain orientation) and more concrete (right brain orientation). Results are sharpened sense of reality, increased capacity for emotion, and enhancement of their sense of connectedness
  • They are subjective/reflective in their thinking, they recognize that every-one's reality is different, they are barely imitative and have a selective but strong sensitivity to nuance
  • Increased spirituality of senior customers results in a higher regard for traditional basic values commonly perceived in a society as universal and eternal. Marketing messages should avoid images that are contrary to such values and invoke images that reflect such values
Adapted from "Rocking the Ages", J. Walker Smith &
Ann Clueman

The above characteristics must be seriously considered when developing marketing and sales approaches for these populations. Since the primary purpose of advertising is to generate ads with the best chance of generating interest and converting that interest into a sale, the ads should reflect an empathy with these values and motivators:
  • Autonomy and self-sufficiency (independence/participation)
  • Social connectedness (relationships/friendships)
  • Altruism (opportunity to share wisdom and ability to do for others: family, community & country)
  • Personal growth (gain knowledge)
  • Revitalization (need to rejuvenate)

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