Boom, baby boom–78 million

By Joe Navarro | January 23, 2006

Marketing your products to baby boomers.

Ongoing success in the insurance business depends on your ability to keep up with the latest market movements–and the market is moving toward Baby Boomers.

When evaluating your agency, you might ask yourself: What kind of return did you get on the money you spent marketing your insurance products last year? What market responded to your efforts? What more can you do to increase your sales?

Those are all good questions to ask. The answers will help lead you to success, because success involves identifying where your future business will come from and taking action to capture that market. It’s likely that your future success will lie in the Baby Boomer generation, a cohort of Americans born between 1946 and 1964.

Baby Boomers represent the largest, single sustained growth of population in the history of the United States. The market is more than 78 million strong. The size and demands Baby Boomers will place on insurance, travel, building and financial industries provides an incredible opportunity to grow your business for the next two decades.

Hungry for products
How does your portfolio of products/services meet the growing needs of Boomers?

Travel insurance, health savings accounts, Medicare, group medical, annuities, dental/vision, reverse mortgages, well-being, homeowners, and long-term care are just some of the products that will prove valuable as 10,000 Boomers turn 50 every day.

The oldest Baby Boomers are turning 60 years old, and the youngest are turning 42 in 2006. Yes, Baby Boomers are represented by a wide range of life stages, experiences and values. But as a group, they are a marketer’s paradise. Those born between the Boomer years commonly share a current transition into middle age and pre-retirement years.

A marketer’s paradise
Boomers are called the “Sandwich Generation” because of their increasing role as caretaker for their parents and children. Half of Boomers older than age 45 have kids under 18 living at home. Some 34 percent report that they care for a parent. As Boomers grow older, they will be making important insurance and financial related decisions for themselves, their parents and children. Baby Boomers will look to you to provide the information and products they need.

The average life span of a Boomer is 85 years old. They will call upon your services more than any generation before. As medicine advances, so will their lifespan. This translates into Boomers as customers for many more years.

Baby Boomers possess the largest discretionary income of all age groups. Boomers older than age 50 control 60 percent of the nation’s wealth. They are the wealthiest, best educated and most sophisticated purchasers. What more do you need to become a Boomer insurance and financial life coach?

Boomers retain a spirit of social activism that took shape and found passionate direction in the ’60s and ’70s. Even the youngest Boomers have an interest in protecting their entitlements. They will become more involved in the political decisions, shaping society as they age. Many of those decisions will directly affect the services and products that you offer.

Throw out the retirement model you used in the past; Boomers will not accept the old notions of later life and retirement. They will refuse to remove themselves, go away or put up with being taken “out of circulation.” Boomers will require a plethora of products and services, and they will go to you to purchase those products.

Some 80 percent of Boomers believe they will keep working after they turn age 65. If they keep working, they will keep earning disposable income and they will keep spending money on your products and services.

Boomers are not confident when it comes to their impending retirement health care coverage. They have concerns about the ability to get the care they need, the ability to visit the doctors of their own choosing and the ability to see specialists when they feel they need to. Those concerns are not uncommon, but there is strength in numbers, and the undeniable size of the Boomer cohort will motivate forward-thinking companies to take action and to market innovative Boomer options.

Talk their language
To Boomers, well-being and aging are synonymous. Being happy, healthy and secure are life requirements. Thus, you should build strategic alliances with companies that offer diverse and unique products to fulfill that passion. If you do, you’re likely to see more business come through your door.

The majority of you are responsible for marketing your own business. Give Boomers the information they need. By the time they were 21, most had seen more than 300,000 commercials. What’s important to them today is that marketing is believable.

Salespeople that are most successful are those individuals that take the time to build heartfelt relationships with their customers. Those sales superstars realize the importance of understanding the needs of their clientele before the sales presentation is ever delivered. They learn the “language” that the customer is comfortable with, and they speak that language passionately.

Boomers want you to understand that they are different from “seniors,” but that they aren’t 30-something either.

Learn about them; at this stage of their consuming life, they’ve seen it all. Become a Boomer advocate. Be passionate with your honest and direct sales approach, and you will have a customer for life.

Marketing to Baby Boomers.
So many people arrive en masse at the “final life stage.” However, Baby Boomers will give traditional retirement a new meaning. To market to them, you must “school” yourself on Boomers. Here are a few tips.

For all their good intent, company brochures and promotional materials are “designed by legal departments.” Instead, create your own promotional materials that compliment company brochures using Boomer language and pointing to you as the Boomer insurance and financial life coach.

Do non-Boomers know that Boomers maintain a healthy materialistic appetite, that they have a higher level of education or that they will live longer than any generation before them? Market Boomer to Boomer to capture more of the market.

Boomers have fine-tuned their brain to skip over negative stimuli. Advertising should speak about the product from the Boomers’ perspective. Talk about quality of life and well-being, and provide answers to the multitude of questions the next life stage holds for them.

Keep your marketing design visually simple. Use contrasting colors (they like color) and easy-to-read fonts and sizes. If a Boomer has to work too hard to understand your message, they will give you the Boomer boot.

BABY BOOMERS:

  • Are Americans born between 1946 and 1964.
  • Are also called the “Sandwich Generation.”
  • Will be living longer than any generation before them.
  • Possess the largest discretionary income of all age groups.
  • Will dominate the political landscape.
  • Are reinventing retirement.
  • Plan on working longer.
  • Demand innovative health care products.
  • Have a passion for well-being.
  • Do not respond to existing marketing practices.
  • Require a fresh and direct sales presentation.
  • Joe Navarro coaches small businesses and corporations on marketing to and servicing Baby Boomers. Phone: (805) 523-7455.

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