Connect With the Boomer Market
Active, engaged, romantic, connected and contributing. What do these five words have in common? According to Mary Furlong, CEO of Lafayette, Calif.-based Mary Furlong and Associates, an agency specializing in the boomer and senior markets, they all characterize the boomer market.
Many companies, including the General Mills brand, Pillsbury, are connecting successfully with the boomer market, developing new products and services targeted to this audience’s needs and lifestyles, and discovering new approaches for marketing existing ones.
For example, as part of its November 2005 initiative “Celebrate Empty Nester Month,” Pillsbury added to its product line two new types of oven-baked dinner rolls packaged in resealable bags.
So exactly what do marketers need to understand about this audience to help them reach the more than 78 million boomers in the United States today?
Following are several strategies Furlong believes are key to a marketer’s success in targeting this market.
Market to their lifestage and psychographics. Rather than developing marketing initiatives based on their age, Furlong recommends marketers focus on the lifestage and psychographics of boomers. These factors, says Furlong, will provide them with the most information about what the audience is most likely to respond to. “Women at 50 [may] believe they’re going to start a new business and star on Oprah. … Men who maybe gave it all in the office feel that they want more time with their families and [have] hobbies to pursue,” says Furlong. “Some people are starting to adopt new families at 50 and some are empty nesters.”
Consider income and family status. Consider not only what a boomer’s income is, but whether or not he has children still living at home whom he’s supporting. “A real point [at which] to capture the boomer market is when the last tuition check is paid. … A sense of financial freedom comes with the launching of the last child,” notes Furlong. “You can’t look at boomers independent of looking at the context of their family.”