Get to know your local baby boomer
A psychological study into a group who don’t like you much
I’m out fishing with Don. He arrived at 5am. Because he’s “Not sleeping too well, and it’s going to be a beautiful day, and you can sleep when you’re dead and why do you need much sleep, you work in advertising and what do you do all day but go to lunch anyway?”
So I’m out about 3 ks off Angelsea, lumpy water, sun inching its way into the sky, just getting nibbles and no real bites. And Don talks. He talks about politics. How Labor can’t get it’s act together. About the looming Muslim v. Christian war. About relying on your PC in business when you should keep a paper diary too. About the rise and fall of real estate and the escalating cost of medical assistance. About how the greenies have got it wrong about global warming. About a little girl with cancer featured on last night’s news and about how unfair any kind of God would be to let her suffer like that.
I go fishing with Don because he’s kind of funny and he makes me think. And because he’s a bit older than me, he gives me an insight into baby boomers. They are a club the baby boomers, powerful, connected and they don’t like you, Mr Smarty Pants Gen Y.
While you could argue that the older the person, the more of a laggard they are technologically, (my mother has never used a PC and still writes everything by hand) there are a lot of stand-out exceptions to this. Retirement Villages, for example, are bursting at the seams with older people who are becoming very web-savvy.
The Internet is increasing in popularity and Boomers one of the fastest groups to uptake. It is very helpful to meet friends, research concerns from Alzheimer’s disease to estate planning and to email your kids instructions, rather than bother to ring them and shout orders.
Boomers are doing every thing on the Internet, even exchanging spouses via the web. These were the people tossing their car keys into a bowl on the coffee table during the 60’s and 70’s….now it’s Entre-nous and RSVP.
While they are harder to win over, as they have to trust you and are happy to wait a lot longer to see if you stick it out, they are also much more loyal once won, simply because they don’t switch as often. Making them usually a much better customer to win than someone younger.
Not Time Poor
The Boomers are one of the few major market segments I can think of who have time on their hands. Which means they can buy leisure pursuits, and respond better to long copy, direct mail etc.
This disposable time also means they can be very ornery customers. Younger, time pressed people often can’t be bothered to fight a company about an issue. Boomers enjoy it for the fun sake alone. I’d love to check the banking or telco ombudsman’s records, but I’ll bet they are heavily weighted to older, bored customers.
While they are tough market to crack, it’s worth it. They control most of the companies, via either board positions or share ownership, they spend more in total terms than most other groups and in particular markets like travel, food, private schools (they pay the grand kiddies fees) or investments, they dwarf other target markets.
Media to use
According to one source who really ought to know, 94.4% of boomers still watch TV most days, and their numbers are very strong during day-time, when few others can watch.
They have plenty of time on their hands, so, according to the same source, 86.1% read newspapers, probably while texting their kids orders on their iphone.
Is very effective, especially in print media like women’s magazines.
Works well, and names stay relevant longer, but be persistent. Few older Australians will trust you straight away. They didn’t come down in the last shower… Newsletters and company magazines/brochures are very effective sent the same way.
Have a higher proportion of boomer readers – who are community focused and happy to have a freebie, even if it’s full of ads. For the same reason leaflet drops are also very effective, given the offer is relevant.
Still has a place with the boomer market – the older the more relevant. Many of them spent their childhood’s listening to DJ’s and they don’t sleep so well, so there’s a significant proportion who you can hit with radio, especially late at night and even early in the morning and I mean before dawn…PR stories at this time, especially talk-backs, where you can bitch about the current dumb/lazy government, work an absolute treat.
Packaging/Swing tags etc.
If you’re targeting boomers, design packaging and Point Of Sale with them in mind. That means promises that sound right to them, typefaces they can read, tops you can get off if your hands don’t grip too well….
Given they are time-rich, many boomers like entering competitions. If nothing else, it gives them something to do. It’s amazing how participation rates go way up if you just aim your promotions at those in the community who actually might be able to enter….
Boomers are wrinkly and often grumpy. Wouldn’t you be if your hips hurt and you felt your kids were sitting around just waiting for you to die? But they are also a rich seam of potential sales and will stay loyal much longer when won. They are a powerful consumer group and very influential on their fellow customers – they have little to loose by speaking their minds. They are also big net-workers; upset one Granny in Dubbo and watch your sales plummet in Perth.
We take a very dim view of brands that don’t take boomers seriously, as they influence most markets and dominate many. Whether you’re in cars (my 70 year old mate just bought a Teslar) or you’re in booze (who else can afford a $60 bottle of wine?) as market, they are a very reliable alternative to younger markets who will buy from your competitor in Sweden or Tokyo before you can say yen.