Marketers Need to Prepare Now For The Aging of The Baby Boom—Or Risk Losing Out on a Huge Opportunity
By Alicia Orr Suman
Between 1946 and 1964 in the post-WWII population bubble called the baby boom, 76 million Americans were born.
In 2006, the baby boom will turn 60, and the leading edge of the baby boom generation will approach retirement and "senior" status.
According to a new AARP study, Boomers at Midlife: The AARP Life Stage Study, boomers are drawn together by their collective experiences. As members of one of the largest generations in American history, they've experienced Vietnam and Watergate, the civil rights and women's movements, and moon landings. "It's a generation that redefined music, religion, leisure and many American norms and values," the study says.
But beyond its collective experiences, the baby boom is remarkably diverse. Within its boundaries are 50-something grandmothers and grandfathers, 40-ish moms and dads of young kids, childless professional couples and single, working individuals in their late 30s.
Given this generation's importance and diversity, how can direct marketers tap this maturing market segment? Target Marketing recently caught up with Jock Bickert, chairman of the board of Cohorts/Looking Glass Inc., and one of the pioneers in the field of life-stage marketing. Bickert developed the Cohorts method of segmentation to help marketers understand their customers at the household level. Cohorts are household segments defined by shared demographic, lifestyle and consumer behavior characteristics.
Here, Bickert shares his insights into what direct marketers can do to effectively communicate with the important Boomer market.
Target Marketing: What do marketers need to understand about the baby boom generation to seize this marketing opportunity?
Bickert: The baby boom truly is difficult to define. It's not one market. It extends from Harry S. Truman to Lyndon Johnson.
There are so many diverse groups represented within this generation.