Baby boomers are retiring, and to accommodate this growing market, major companies are retooling to be ready. Baby boomers already account for half of consumer spending in America, and with a longer life expectancy, they’re predicted to spend at least $50 billion in the next 10 years. Across the country, companies are quietly making their typefaces bigger, creating better access, lowering store shelves to make things easier to reach, and even avoiding colors like yellow and blue that older folks have difficulty seeing. (Who knew?) Companies see the changing market and are responding accordingly. But the question is: Are churches, ministries, and non-profits doing the same? For better or worse, Boomers have been the most dominant demographic force in American history. So while many are obsessed with “the next generation,” if you’re trying to sell products, seek donors, or share a message, you need to keep these consumers in mind.
Here’s a few things to remember:
1. Whatever you do, don’t remind Baby Boomers they’re old. Remember that they’ve always been demanding and rebellious, so whatever changes you make to reach them, needs to be done covertly. For instance, Tyco is changing it’s famous “medical alert” products to “companion services” products. Kimberly Clark is re-thinking it’s “Depends” brand and making gender specific versions that look like normal underwear.
2. Maybe it’s finally a good thing that the largest and most responsive audience for religious media is 55 and older women. So get ready for potential growth in that audience. Certainly they won’t respond to the same things in the same way the last generation of older audiences did, but that aged audience is about to grow, and it’s time to start connecting.
3. With Boomers, it’s about “lifestyle” not “need.” Plus, they don’t want to be preached to. As one marketing director said, “Boomers have a filter that says, ‘If you’re trying to sell me too hard, then I’m not sure about your intentions.'”
There’s an entirely different argument about the spiritual aspects of this – if thinking in these terms is a good thing or bad thing. But the fact remains that this group is growing, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to reach out and make an impact.
I’d love to know your thoughts – especially if you’re moving in this direction or not.