The Baby Boom generation is classified as people born between 1946 and 1964, meaning the oldest Baby Boomers turn 65 in 2011. Boomers are still vital and evolving even as they approach retirement age, concludes a recently released report.
In the US alone, more than 3.5 million babies were born in 1946. Our conception of Seniors, what Boomers soon will be, is highly stereotyped, says the report. Baby Boomers can be labeled Pragmatic Idealists. As a demographic they are a glass-half-full group. They feel they can make things the way they want them to be, or at least engage with the forces at work to tilt the odds 51% in their favor. Even in our constrained economy, Baby Boomers still seek, and assume, growth, all the while acknowledging new limitations in resources.
Deutsch says understanding the following three basic life structures is critical to capturing the Boomer market:
* The developmental history of Boomers casts them as characters that possess a self-expansive nature primarily devoid of cynicism. The Baby Boom generation embodies a vitality that makes them survivors, even if they can’t always be thrivers.
* As Boomers age, home range will become more important, and getting settled in new spaces, such as a smaller, closer-to-town abode or a move to a warmer climate, will require adaptation to new interpersonal and larger social arrangements. In addition, Boomers will develop requirements for new types of mundane services, particularly in the domains of finance, healthcare, and personal care.
* As people age their nostalgic yearnings grow, says Deutsch, making them more receptive to advertisers and marketers use of what researchers call a “longing for positive memories of the past.” Moreover, nostalgia can make Boomers feel that not so much time has passed between then and now, making them feel young again. Nostalgia should be considered as one marketing aesthetic to attract Boomers.
According to the report, in interviews, Boomers say things like:
* “We now have more responsibility… ”
* “Anger, in the long run, just hurts you.”
* “Maybe ‘now’ is an opportunity… to re-evaluate who you are and where you are going.”
In sharp contrast, Gen-Xer’s are losing hope in the ties that bind hard work to success, says Deutsch. They see their future as “closing.” This mentality foreshortens their vision of themselves, others, and the world. Their orientation, about almost everything, is defensive:
* “Money makes the world go around. Now I have less money. Now I have less hope.” “I feel better when I see someone worse off than me.”
* “I gotta fight for everything, and I don’t have a lot.”
* “What’s the point?”
Key Boomer attitudes and perceptions that are important for marketers, says Deutsch:
* Boomers are at a time in life when they really don’t want to compromise their authenticity.
* For Boomers, process is at least as important as the end result. They want “the ride”
* Boomers like to inspire others. Help them feel helpful
* Boomers have been around long enough to know there are few absolutes, little is black or white
* Accentuate personal style over rote action or blind ritual
* Boomers are oriented to the human dimension, that’s the only real thing. They can see the humor in most situations
* What Boomers really dislike is feeling put upon by arbitrary power, feeling trapped, conned, boxed-in, and being thought of as one of the masses
* Boomers are both creative and conservative (“A beautiful garden is wild and tended”)
* Boomers go for what gives voice to things they are thinking and feeling, but haven’t fully worked out yet
* Boomers respond to what stands out by its presence, not its loudness. What shows them it really listens and, therefore, understands
And, according to trendwatching.com in its recent list of Top 10 Consumer Trends for 2010 reported by Marketing Charts, several general societal trends closely match with Boomer trends. These include a need for companies to be transparent and honest about their efforts to conduct environmentally sustainable business practices and genuinely collaborate with their customers rather than try to dictate to them. In addition, consumers are increasingly using social networks as part of everyday life and respond well to products and services which have a charitable component.