Baby Boomers are an accomplished and powerful group – here’s how to build trust and loyalty with them.
Everyone is keen on getting in with Millennials, and for good reason: they’re the future of spending and influence. As valuable as they are though, much of the bets we’re all making on them won’t pay off for a while. Meanwhile, many are ignoring the group that controls as much as 70% of disposable income: Baby Boomers.
They’re dedicated, loyal, and consistent, and they’ll stand by brands that prove their worth. With them controlling. Yet, every day 11,000 of them turn 65 in the US, and over a third of them already rely on social security benefits to get by.
Take a snapshot of Boomers when they were in their 20s and 30s, and you’d see that they have much in common with Millennials. They were optimistic, idealistic, rebellious. They led the civil rights movement, landed on the moon and dropped acid at Woodstock. They were also spoiled and placed in position to succeed by the hard work of their parents, and they took advantage of the opportunity.
The result? The modern corporate world, over which they are now rulers. They have clout and control, and many of them are still content to continue working (while others have no choice).
So what can businesses do to win their hearts and minds (and not just their wallets)? Here are eight characteristics and general ideas that will attract and retain this still very-relevant sector of society.
What are Boomers? They’re…
Reliable – This is a generation raised on the principles of doing what you’re paid to do, and doing it well. Companies can learn much from this by closely aligning their branding with their product capabilities. In normal speak: promise responsibly.
Relational – Like Millennials, Boomers are hip to social media, except their primary uses involveconnecting with family & friends. This makes social spots such as Facebook important and a good forum for family-centric content and giveaways. Bonus tip: Personalization works for any generation. Use first names where possible – bonus points for titles, such as Dr.
Hard Working – This is the generation that created the 60 hour work week and lived to work. They’re working to live at this point, but they still believe in pushing hard at whatever it is they’re doing. This behavior lends itself to learning, and an opportunity for a business to create educational content. To borrow a tip from our engagement eBook, this is a generation that you want to be absolute experts at using your product.
Loyal – Older Boomers generally won’t waste their time trying out new products or services if they have one that works. The application is simple: recognize this segment and show them your appreciation, either through loyalty programs or simple rewards programs.
Consistency –Similar to the above, people who are getting on in age have an appreciation for surprise, but they don’t necessarily look to brands for those surprises. Brands should communicate consistency in their messaging, reminding customers what the brand has done for them. If there’s an actual physical product, special marketing should be built around the typical lifetime expiration of the product so customers are primed to purchase once again.
Accomplished –Boomers take as much pride in what they’ve done for their companies and communities as they do in their personal achievements. Gamification is a type of tactic that would work well with this group, as well as being able to see how their efforts are helping a greater cause. Marketing that emphasizes gaining an edge on their guy next door could also hit home with Boomers.
Competitive – You don’t change the business world the way Boomers have without an edge and a unique resourcefulness. Use this to your advantage through contests and appealing for their desire to win. If you never considered Boomers for that “user generated content” campaign, think again.
Prideful – And we don’t mean that in a bad way. When your generation produces Elvis, civil rights, Beatlemania, the space program, the Fonz, hippies and more, you’ve got a reason to feel good about what you’ve done. Brands should empower this generation by reminding them of their greatness and the greatness yet to come from them. The question to answer is how can your brand help them continue to change the world?
If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice some recurring themes between Millennials and Boomers – recognition, pride, social media and social change. Both have unique traits they look for in brands, but connecting with them on an emotional level can produce a lifetime of unabashed loyalty.
Does Gen X follow suit? We’ll take a look at them next.
I love movies targeted at today’s Baby Boomers and the G.I. Generation. I was first in the box-office line for Last Vegas (2013), Red (2010), Solitary Man (2009), Gran Torino (2008), Calendar Girls (2003), and Space Cowboys (2000), all of which star actors age 60 or older. As for television, I religiously watched William Shatner, James Spader, and Candice Bergen lawyer up in ABC’s Boston Legal (2004-08). And I firmly stood by TNT’s Men of a Certain Age (2009-11) from its brilliant premiere all the way to its premature end.
What’s more, if a movie involves middle-aged (and older) characters in romantic relationships, I’m especially engrossed. Aside from Cocoon (1985), which I’ve not seen (I don’t do sci-fi), I could recommend Hope Springs (2012), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), It’s Complicated (2009), Something’s Gotta Give (2003), As Good As it Gets (1997), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), The Bridges of Madison County (1995)