by Cheryl Swanson
Marketing to Boomers - Don't Treat Them
Toniq's ethnographic studies of Leading Edge Boomers (those people born
between 1946 and 1955) have revealed a variety of lifestyle insights, several
of which run contrary to accepted "truisms" and expectations of an aging population.
These insights included:
- Leading Edge Boomers are now between the ages of 49 and 58, which they
perceive as "young enough to enjoy their accumulated wisdom". They feel
they have learned a lot of life's lessons, but feel they are younger in
attitude and in body than their parents were at the same age. They do not
necessarily believe that "youth is wasted on the young" because they feel
- While all Boomers interviewed feel the aches & pains associated with
aging, they don't perceive of themselves as "getting old"…they perceive
of themselves as getting better. They feel that they have paid their dues
and done for others (family, job) and it's now their time to do the things
they have dreamed about for years like going back to school, volunteering
- Being active and leading complete, full lives is a lifestyle hallmark
of this group.
- Boomers gravitate toward brands that are youthful and energetic in personality
(e.g. Red Bull, Mt. Dew's AMP). They perceive brands targeted to "older
people" as offensive, "not for me" and a reminder of their mortality. When
asked if larger package copy, arthritis friendly caps and nutrition for
"older people" (like Ensure or Boost) would be of interest, they said all
of that was for "old people" (defined as people over 80!)
Downsizing For a Fuller Life
Toniq's studies of Leading Edge Boomers have revealed a key insight to leading
the "good life" after 48…downsizing and simplifying!
- Many Leading Edge Boomers have grown children who have "left the nest"
or who are about to leave the nest. Consequently, many Boomers feel that
they no longer need a large house and are opting for smaller houses or condos
(no need to take care of lawns, gardens).
- Purging the stuff accumulated over a lifetime is a consistent Boomer
attribute - downsizing for a fuller life is key for them. Not be burdened
by "stuff" seems to clear the mind and gets them focused on what they feel
is important - which is the experience of life rather than "buying things".
- Many Boomers are opting for "active retirement" communities for those
55 and older where the focus is on living an active life (sports, yoga,
community service, all kinds of classes) rather than taking care of "stuff"
(yards, homes, pools, etc)
- Though this generation has most of the country's wealth, they do not
spend extravagantly. Many Boomers are retired or getting ready to retire,
so their incomes will be fixed. They were the first generation of "mass
market consumers" so they feel they have bought everything they could want
and now look forward to investing in "experiences" like travel and continuing
- Boomers look for ways to save money on everyday items like food, beverages
and personal care products - despite their collective wealth, they are big
coupon collectors and bargain hunters. They want to save their money for
experiences, gifts for grand kids, etc.
Cheryl Swanson is a Principal of Toniq LLC, a brand strategy firm dedicated
to building Brand Effervescence©. Visit www.toniq.com
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