We hear a lot about Boomers as members of the “sandwich generation,” caught between raising their (sometimes adult) children and taking care of their elderly parents. The Pew Research Center notes that about one in every eight Americans aged 40 to 60 is currently caring for a parent, physically or financially. And with the over-65 population set to double in the next two decades, the sandwich generation’s burdens are likely to increase exponentially as well.
Surprisingly, a simple Google or Yahoo search of “sandwich generation” will generate millions of results but virtually no advertising targeted at this group. According to recent information released by AARP, nearly 40 million caregivers account for around $450 million in potential revenue in the marketplace.
Moral for marketers: Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with these caretakers.
So, what issues should be top of mind for marketers, whether your field is healthcare, finance, consumer goods or technology?
Healthcare Consumerism: With people becoming more engrossed in their own (and their parents’) health, technology will enable them to become even more empowered, informed and educated consumers. Witness the rise of online support groups and websites such as WebMD. In the digital realm, keywords such as “home care therapy,” “adult daycare” or “home care services” are some of the most highly searched.
The Mobile Revolution: As technology continues to change how we communicate, healthcare, financial and consumer brands will be expected not only to meet but to exceed consumer demand for more digital health management, especially by on-the-go consumers and those engaged in social media.
“Well”-thy Aspirations: Brands that share the common goal of wellness and providing connections stand the best chance of building loyalty. Develop marketing strategies for the industries that service home care workers, therapists and patients, as well as the caretakers themselves.
The New Frontier: The sandwich generation provides multiple opportunities for developers of personal and aging-in-place technology products, therapists, and providers of specialty in-home services, including housing modifications, foodservice, time management, personal organizers and personal shoppers.
Meet Their Mission: Communicate the fact that you sympathize with caretakers’ issues and identify with their mission. Members of this generation will be looking for brands that empower and equip them, have a message tailored to them, and are willing to partner with them for as long as necessary. Understand that they’re looking for products and services that help them keep on top of their family’s health, as well as the immediate health and well-being of their parents.
This may sound like a call to take advantage of an audience already under tremendous physical, emotional, psychological and financial pressure (lost wages, personal retirement savings and time), but just remember: Members of this market will be looking to interact and engage with brands that meet their needs and make their lives a little bit easier.