We have been hearing about the baby boomers for decades and we will hear about their impact for decades to come. I remember studying them in high school and college, so I’m guessing that it was on all Generation X and Y curricula. They are still the largest group of babies born in the U.S. at one time and their decisions have and continue to affect business, retirement and your small business bottom line—if you know how to get and keep their attention.
Baby Boomers, Retirement and Education
Anita Campbell, in an article on American Express OPEN Forum titled, “When Big Companies Go Back To School, Will Small Businesses Benefit?“, broaches the idea of replacing the baby boomer in the manufacturing and engineering fields. “In manufacturing, nearly one-fourth of employees are already 55 or over, creating concerns about coming mass retirement,” she writes. In response to this concern, Anita says, “many big employers are asking community colleges to create custom training programs for them.”
The baby boomers are loyal and focused on their work which results in years of skill and know-how. Sounds like the need to fill the gap that retiring baby boomers will create may also change the landscape of education options in some communities.
Working or retired, baby boomers are still making waves.
Marketing to Baby Boomers
Yvonne DiVita, in “How to Market to the Baby Boomer Demographic” on American Express OPEN Forum, speaks from both research and experience as she gives a snapshot of the baby boomer female. Yvonne says,
“These are not the rocking-chair women of the 20th century. They’re vibrant, colorful, energetic, and connected women who love hanging out with their granddaughters. They’re over 50 but act as if they are under 40 – living up to their expectations, not yours.”
As the daughter of two vibrant boomers, I think her take is right on point. Every system that the baby boomers moved through, they have stretched, challenged and altered in some way. Retirement is no different.
Age doesn’t mean the same thing any more. Maybe 60 is the new 40.
Winning Them Back
When marketing to baby boomers, Yvonne makes the point that “grandmoms are everywhere….they have influence. Get to understand that and how to tap into it.”
If you have ignored this group, then today is a good day to pay attention. But if they used to be customers and you managed to lose their business along the way, then consider the advice Ivana Taylor offers in a piece on American Express OPEN Forum titled, “5 Ways to Win Back Lost Customers.” Her tips are not exclusive to baby boomer clients, but they are helpful. According to research by Marketing Metrics that Ivana references in her article, you have up to a 40 percent chance of winning back a former customer, which is double your chances of winning a new one in the first place. So it may be worth the effort.
More power to the baby boomers and to your business as you learn how to take care of them. I know one thing: Don’t underestimate (or ignore) them.
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I’m an ACE certified personal trainer, in my 50s, and I specialize in fitness for baby boomers. I can tell you from experience that baby boomers want to stay active and young for as long as they can. They are willing to pay for quality services.
Lots of truth here. My own retail kayak business grew as a surprising result of this group’s support. The key was in offering lots of education, care and time, as well as being willing to shuck traditional “how-to’s” to adapt to changing bodies and mobility.
This group is still active and will respond to those who can help them stay that way, despite the natural progression of age.
Very interesting and timely article. Just yesterday I observed and frankly got in the business of a couple being very affectionate at a local coffee shop. They were both well over 55 and enjoying what the woman called “mettlin”. All I can say is Keep Hope Alive! If you are marketing to the Baby Boomer crowd, don’t think they are all slender, blonde, blue-eyed, with perfect teeth and hair. We love the sexy side of our Marvelous Middle life also.
Great post. I guess my new age is 42!
I like you new age @Kip!