Marketing to Win the Baby Boomers' Business
In this day and age of aggressive competition, your ability to market to boomers can really give you the edge.
Why? Because boomers feel, in general, that marketers are failing them. And maybe rightly so, because marketers are generally spending more time and committing more dollars on the Gen X population. Yet, we know boomers are the generation with the most dollars to spend.
Let’s look at key factors to keep in mind when marketing to boomers:
Forget the gimmicks. Steer clear of offers that are too good to be true. Boomers will not only see right through the gimmicks — they will be insulted that you thought they’d fall for them.
Soft sell the product: “It’s all about me!” If you want to create an effective campaign, remember one critical thing: it’s not all about the product, it’s all about the boomer consumer and what the product can do for them.
Understand boomers. Boomers want marketers to understand them. If you give them the information they need, you will increase their interest in your product or service. Show boomers that you understand them, and you will be rewarded with an enjoyable experience during every stage of your relationship.
Provide solid information. Boomers want worthwhile information so they can make educated decisions on their own. Don’t coddle the boomer buyer. Provide them with all the pieces necessary for them to make the right decision ― buying from you!
R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Boomers tell us they want our respect, our attention and our good manners. Don’t forget, boomers are used to the world revolving around them. One bad experience will turn a boomer off forever, and they will definitely tell their friends and family about it.
Earn their trust. Earn their trust and you’ll earn their business. Studies have found that boomers are very brand loyal so earning their trust pays future dividends, especially with referrals.
Make them feel like winners. Boomers grew up expecting to be winners, and they respond to products and services they perceive as winners also.
Mix it up — in the community that is. Boomers value intergenerational communities. Whenever possible ― do not age qualify. In a small community ― 200 or fewer homes ― boomers are more inclined to purchase if there are younger professionals residents. So don’t be afraid to mix it up.
In a larger planned community, age qualification is okay as long as there is diversity throughout the larger master planned neighborhood.
Don't Ignore Boomer Women
In addition to these factors there is one significant group that is largely ignored by marketers — boomer women. Given that the boomer generation is the first to produce financially independent women, ignoring boomer women makes no sense.
Focus your message on wisdom from experience, emotional relevance, vitality and inner beauty, and be careful how you position your approach. Talk to boomer women about convenience, not security, because she does not want to feel vulnerable.
Surprisingly, boomer women respond to direct mail. A third of older boomer women surveyed said they visited a new business within the last 90 days because of a direct mail they had received. The practice of reading direct mail spans across older and younger boomer women alike. They all agreed that an interesting package had the greatest impact on which direct mail pieces they opened.
Remember, boomer women cringe at being viewed as “mature.” They are not going to relate to the ultra thin model, but they definitely do not connect with the stereotypical grandmother, either. As challenging as this group might be, they are worth the effort; 57% of single boomer women are home owners.
As you can see, there is great opportunity for good marketers and builders as it relates to capturing the boomer market, because they have been largely ignored by marketers until now.
Don’t be intimidated, educate yourself. There is a wealth of information available to you on the boomer generation. Stay focused on boomers and their evolution. Remember, historically boomers have continued to redefine themselves and we can expect them to do this through every life stage.
Nanette Overly is director of sales and marketing services with Epcon Communities in Dublin, Ohio. She has more than 20 years’ experience in home building and residential real estate sales and marketing. She is active in the East Central Ohio Building Industry Association and is an approved instructor for Certified New Homes Sales Professional courses. She has been a featured speaker at Building for Boomers & Beyond: The Seniors Housing Symposium. She has also been an ambassador to local high schools, introducing students to career opportunities in home building. For more information, e-mail Overly, or call her at 614-761-1010.
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