Anatomy of a Boomer: Part 5


Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a six-part blog series, covering key items marketers need to know when targeting Baby Boomers (individuals 50 years and older).

Boomers Have Full and Complicated Family Connections

Those 50+ are entering midlife with many sisters and brothers still alive. This is a new, historical development. In addition, the longer life span of Boomer parents, coupled with the decision to have their own children later in life, leaves many Boomers juggling a lot of family responsibilities.

There may be multiple parents and children from different families, given Boomers comfort levels with divorce. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, as well as financial issues for those over 50. They may have to decide between helping their grown children or providing assistance to their aging parents.

On the whole, Boomers were much more involved in their children’s lives than their parents were, and that remains true as their children grow up. A national study of time use conducted from 1965 to 1998 revealed that parents spent increasingly more time engaging with children from 1975 to 1998, when the Baby Boomers were likely to be raising young children.

In addition, many people 50+ viewed helping their kids get a good college education as more important than preparing for their own retirement. Children of Boomers shouldn’t count on a big inheritance, even if their parents are rich. Only about half of those over 50 with more than $3 million in investible assets, say they consider leaving money to their kids a priority, according to a 2012 U.S. Trust Survey.

Talking to the lady of the house pays off

Marketers should specifically target women. In current 50+ households, females make many of the buying decisions, and they influence the males in the household. Though there are a number of single-person 50+ households, the majority of these will be female, because of their longer life spans. Unless the product or service appeals mostly to men, marketing to women will have a bigger payoff for this marketing segment.

Any product that helps Boomers balance their family responsibilities to both children and parents will be of great interest. For instance, a financial planner who can explain options that allow those 50+ to meet as many of their responsibilities as possible while still retaining a little income for discretionary spending has a captive audience. They need help, and are willing to seek professional advice.

Think like a Vimarcian

Because Baby Boomers have always been very close to their children, anything that fosters that closeness is valued. Whether it’s family-friendly movies and TV or special events and trips that allow family bonding, Boomers are looking for ways to stay connected to their children and grandchildren. Digital services and products that help families share via online outlets are also very attractive to a 50+ audience. Check out what we mean in the examples below ...