With the baby boomer generation aging, the pool of retirees is changing. Some of the key marketing strategies which worked even just five years ago to target retirees are not working any longer. But at the same time, traditional baby boomer marketing doesn’t quite hit the mark any longer, either, as they are leaving the workforce and finding their priorities changing.
With those changing priorities, we are also seeing a change in spending habits. The target audience for many companies has traditionally been the 25-54 segment as that is where the disposable income is thought to be. However, Americans over 50 spend $3.2 trillion annually and account for roughly half of all consumer expenditures in the United States. So there could be a great opportunity for those companies willing to change gears and court retirees and pre-retirees.
The first thing to consider, however, is that today’s retiree, specifically the baby boomer, does not see him or herself as old. Boomers do not want to be treated like seniors. 60 is the new 40 and health and wellness is a key aspect of their thinking. Many also may still have kids in high school and college. Targeting a 50-something pre-retiree by playing at the grandchildren heartstrings won’t do much if he still has a high schooler at home. Similarly, with the struggles of the millennials and the fact that many are staying home with parents longer than in generations past and putting off having children, it is not uncommon for a 65-year-old retired boomer to have kids at home and lead a life similar to their life in their 40’s. So you have to account for this when marketing.
Next, you need to understand where boomers are. And that is, overwhelmingly, on social media. Here at Macomb county catering, we may think of social media as the place for millennials, but as boomers are retiring, relocating, and becoming less physically mobile, social media is becoming the place for them to go to keep up with friends and get their news. And when they aren’t on social media, they are on the web. Younger baby boomers are the most active group online, spending over 40 hours online each month, compared with 32 hours for Millennials.
And finally, it’s important to understand the change that is occurring with boomers in general. The original “me” generation is quickly changing into a “we” generation. They care more about the world around them, about their legacy, and about helping the causes which are important to them. So while traditional marketing focused on the individual and his or her family in years past with baby boomers, it is time to start changing the focus of marketing. A greater purpose is important to boomers and they are willing to pay for it.
Ultimately, there is a lot of disposable income with the baby boomers, but marketers need to rethink their strategies if they want to get to this generation. Targeting internet ads and social media are where you will find the boomers, but everything needs to ultimately have a purpose to really open the boomer’s wallet.