by Colin Jowell

I’ll admit it. I resent Baby Boomers. This is not because I was raised by a pair of them - it’s because I am seriously jealous. They grew up in a time of unprecedented growth and relative stability. They could afford property at a young age, which is now the bedrock of wealth for many of them. They have a far healthier relationship with technology, having begun their careers at a time that did not require 24 hours access to e-mail. The older ones were also lucky enough to have Gen X kids that moved out and left them in peace at a reasonable age.

Little wonder that they have been the focus of serious marketing effort throughout their whole lives. This trend shows little sign of abatement now as their greater levels of disposable time and income continue to make them an attractive prospect.

So what are the brands that are doing a good job with Boomers, and what can we learn from them?

According to the Relationship Mapping Data some interesting brands emerge. Undoubtedly, longevity and track record count: brands like Kellogg’s continue to engage with the Boomer market. Clear focus on the segment that APIA does so so well also pays dividends.

Commonwealth Bank is the standout in the banking category. This could also be explained by track record, but in the lifetime of the boomer, most major banks have been around long enough. More likely in CBA’s case it is the consistency with which that brand has been delivered.

Quality matters, which is why a brand like Miele trounces the others for customer engagement in the home appliances section.

Boomers are not afraid of innovation, or if they are, being a brand that offers security in that space will be welcomed: Paypal is a great example of this - while it ranks higher overall in terms of engagement this is driven strongly by robust recommendation scores from their Boomer customers.

And they are not afraid of “newer” players so long as the value equation is set right. Virgin (as an airline brand rather than as a Telco) and Hyundai track particularly well.

Things to think about

  1. How are you targeting this valuable segment - do you need a brand, an offer or simply a tactical strategy?
  2. Can you partner with brands that might have the necessary track record and trust with Boomers that you might lack?
  3. What problem are you solving for them- e.g can you be the Paypal, taking their fears of security away?
  4. Can you offer the right value to this segment? This is not about being cheap - lifestage means they are making considered choices that trade off quality and price.