In my book Boomers 3.0: Marketing to Baby Boomers in Their Third Act of Life, I outline ten strategies that businesspeople should consider when marketing to older consumers. These strategies are grounded in what I believe to be the core values of Americans in their third act of life, i.e., Baby Boomers, and are thus a reflection of the individual and collective DNA that guides their attitudes and behavior. As cultural indicators of how older consumers are likely to spend their time and money, I see these ten strategies as territories for marketers to stake and mine with products, services and communications.
1) Forever Young
The first strategy, "Forever Young," is about the quest to remain youthful, whether literally or metaphorically. Youth is not something that necessarily goes away at age 20, 30, or any other chronological measure; rather, youthfulness is an idea that anyone, regardless of his or her age, can subscribe to as part of an approach to or philosophy of life. A good number of those in their third act are holding onto their determination to think, act, and appear young, making this good strategic fodder for marketers.
2) Old Dog, New Tricks
The second strategy, "Old Dog, New Tricks," shows how many Boomers are deeply committed to proactively pursuing knowledge of all kinds. It's clear that old dogs are indeed capable of learning new tricks, as Boomers satisfy their thirst to know more about some aspect of the world for professional or personal reasons. Businesses should leverage older dogs' wishes to learn new tricks, a prime example of what I call age-friendly marketing.
The third strategy, "Reboot," argues that older people are ready, willing and able to reinvent themselves in some way and embark on new ventures in place of retirement. Whether carefully planned out or serendipitous, rebooting is about looking forward rather than backward, challenging the idea that older adults spend most of their time remembering better days when they were young. Think of Boomers as a work in process open to new experiences.
4) Inner Muse
The fourth strategy, "Inner Muse," presents the idea there is an intimate relationship between Baby Boomers and creativity, one that will no doubt continue to blossom. Finding one’s inner muse -- the goddess of art -- will be a primary pursuit of Boomers through their third act, I believe, particularly because many have the time and money to nurture a particular avenue of creativity. Surf the wave of Boomer creativity as they age.
5) Bucket List
The fifth strategy, "Bucket List," is grounded in individuals' desire to complete personally relevant experiences along the journey of life. The world is a very big place with an incredible array of things to see and do, after all, but most of us have lived relatively narrow lives for most of our lives. Whatever the pursuit, marketers of all sorts have a golden opportunity to be part of this existential free-for-all.
6) Higher Ground
The sixth strategy, "Higher Ground," describes the evolution of human beings in their third act of life, a concept that many Baby Boomers have embraced. Metaphorically reaching for higher ground is about the big stuff of life -- gaining experience and wisdom, realizing one’s full potential, advancing one's spirituality, and, perhaps most important, embracing aging. Marketers should consider ways to tap into this Maslow-esque process of personal growth.
The seventh strategy, "Boomerpods," references the forming of new kinds of friendships and alliances defined by close-knit communities with strong personal or professional affiliations. The concept of Boomerpods is an important one, as a synergy often results when people get together. Enabling Boomers to plug into existing and emerging communities is a major opportunity for marketers of all stripes.
8) Gray Power
The eighth strategy, "Gray Power," speaks to the ascending political clout of Boomers. They will exert great influence on the nation's political (and economic) landscape, I believe, seeing the effort as their last opportunity to shape the future. Aligning with Boomers as their power consolidates over the next two decades is a smart strategy for virtually any kind of business.
9) Pay It Forward
The ninth strategy, "Pay It Forward," recognizes the good karma associated with helping others and giving back if one is able. Paying it forward will become much more structured and organized in the years ahead, I foresee, with millions of Boomers looking for a new mission in life offering meaning and purpose. Taking the initiative by creating opportunities with which Boomers can pay it forward would be a wise move for organizations.
10) Footprints in the Sand
The final strategy I include in Boomers 3.0 is "Footprints in the Sand," the desire to leave something behind after one is gone. Creating some form of legacy is top of mind for many Baby Boomers, as more and more ask themselves, "How can or will I be remembered?" Need it be said, this is a highly valuable pursuit, and I urge that businesses find ways to help Boomers leave their footprints in the sand.
Photo at top by Giacomo Lucarini / Unsplash.
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