Commentary

A Day In The Life Of Barbara Baby Boomer

Barbara, the marketing executive, woke up at 5:30 a.m., grabbed a banana, jumped in her new Buick and headed to Curves gym to use light weights and its circuit training. She remembered to stretch before her workout and was happy with herself that she had committed to going to the gym four times per week since their second child headed for college. She paused in thought and realized they are now officially empty-nesters and this is "me" time. She smiled.

Barbara acknowledged that, with her big "5-0" birthday coming up this year and her class reunion, she wanted to look and feel great. Her life had become quite full with her marketing consulting firm, going to college football games, planning her daughter's baby shower, making European travel plans for her and her husband and assisting with her aging parents.

Barbara arrived home at 7 a.m. showered, applied her anti-aging cream, took her vitamins, put on her Chico's jeans, Talbot's sweater and Clark's comfortable low-heeled shoes. She checked her iPhone for emails as she turned on her Apple computer with the 20-inch monitor. She smiled at her screen saver -- it's her favorite family photo. She was a couple hours into writing a proposal when the phone rang. It was Dad. Mom had fallen and broken her hip. They were both 82, recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year and were just showing signs of slowing down. She has two siblings, but she was the only daughter.

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Barbara made a few phone calls to family and senior services companies. She knew from the various web sites she visited -- such as Silverplanet.com, Vibrantnation.com, Grandparents.com, OomphTV, About55.com -- that there were companies she could call to help her parents age in place. She would call Home Instead for home care assistance, call Presto to set up an automated email without a computer and Wellcore for a personal emergency response system. (PERS).

Since her parents live six hours away via car, she decided to fly instead of drive. She made plane reservations on Southwest Airline's web site to arrive the next morning so she could help with the doctors and necessary surgery decisions. While she was online, she ordered flowers from 1-800-Flowers to cheer up her mother.

Later in the afternoon, she took time to walk her dog Snickers around the block, gave him his preferred dog food and then prepared their family's favorite grilled organic chicken recipe for dinner.

The marketing moral of the story is the insight to the demands on time and the brands that currently engage Boomers -- specifically female Boomers. The brands that solve problems, are stylish, helpful or make a task easier will be embraced. Keep in mind, female Boomers generally make or influence 80% of the buying decisions for their home as well as influencing decisions for three generations.

It is clear that our friend, Barbara Baby Boomer:

  • Is health conscious
  • Is smartphone savvy
  • Has buying power
  • Likes to travel
  • Is married
  • Is a mother
  • Works
  • Makes many daily decisions
  • Is computer savvy
  • Buys products and services online
  • Looks over three generations for care and support

Currently at Navigate Boomer Media, we have 10 associates; five of us are dealing with aging parent issues, hospitals, aging in place products and services and just being available to the help them. We certainly enjoy attending the conferences with the brands focused on these issues like the "What's Next Boomer Business Summit," "Digital Health Summit" and "Silver Summit" to learn about their benefits both professionally and personally.

Recent articles in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and on CBS have highlighted the importance of Boomer consumers and their economic strength. It's also important to note that Boomers spend 15 hours per week online, more time than teens as well as spend three times per month more online than Gen X, according to Forrester Research. The brands that engage female Boomers today will earn their share of Barbara's heart and wallet tomorrow.

6 comments about "A Day In The Life Of Barbara Baby Boomer ".
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  1. Bruce Christensen from PartyWeDo, April 18, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.

    With scattered family members and busy lifestyles, it is easier to do our supporting in various online systems.

    The generational issues of holiday and life-event support has caused us to do more gift giving through the internet.

    The desire to be at all the important parties for parents, children and grandchildren causes us to be pulled in all directions, so we use more internet-based solutions.
    Here is one tool that we are using: http://albinophantblog.com/

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 18, 2011 at 11:19 a.m.

    What you are leaving out are the people who do not have the financial means to use senior services by any stretch of the imagination. Assisted living = $4600 per month. Nursing homes = $9000 per month. And you have to prove you have the money for 5 years before admittance. That is not even for private facilities. But they do pay their staff $10 an hour and you still have to watch them like a hawk. Families bringing in less the $200,000 per year (with their own expenses) are very stuck if their parents did not save enough money. BTW, Chico's is for the over 70 clientele. Even our 98 year old Curves member thinks Chico's is overpriced and too old for her, but she is an Apple fan, travels by herself, still works at her art and writing, and spends on nice dinners and entertainment. You speak of boomers. This is about financially confortable boomers. Big difference.

  3. Kate Lafrance from Hartford Woman Online Magazine, April 18, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.

    I really enjoyed this article. As my 50th approaches I have been viewing it with dread and the realistic hope that perhaps I have 20 years left. I like things that reinforce the Boomer belief system that we will all live to be 100 and remain active, vital and affluent the entire time. Maybe we should all keep telling ourselves that and make it so. I am one who believes that the current economic crisis is a problem with the beliefs of the masses - consumer confidence et al. May not be true but it makes me feel better. Good article. Thanks for writing it.

  4. Thomas Kennon from Free Radicals, April 18, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.

    This is such a painfully old-school way of thinking about, (never mind successfully targeting or engaging with) actual human consumers.

    Change the names of the pubs you magically assign to her reading list and Barbara could be 15-years younger - or older. With almost no changes at all, Barbara could be Ben.

    Using such rigid demographic filters like "babyboomer" (uggh), age and gender to develop smart, well targeted & touchpoint-optimal marketing programs is increasingly unworkable.

    The brighter brand marketers have moved on to richer, behavioral and even contextual methods for getting & keeping the Barbaras and the Bens as happy and engaged customers --- regardless of how much money they make or which restroom they use.

    Thom Kennon | @tkennon | bigevidence.blogspot.com

  5. Nora Gervais, April 20, 2011 at 12:36 p.m.

    Great article demonstrating the many roles a 50+ adult can have today while caring for both adult kids and aging parents. This age demographic is so misunderstood- thanks for shedding some light on the busy lifestyle and importance of meaningful engagement to them. An exciting time to be working in the baby boomer space!

  6. Nancy Padberg from Navigate Boomer Media, May 1, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.

    Hi Thom, I would ask that you read the article more carefully, I don't list any publications our Barbara Baby Boomer reads. And yes, Ben could be Barbara, except he doesn't wear clothes from Chicos, Talbots or Clarks. Please note we do agree on multiple touch points as Barbara gets her email, looks at apps and reads several web sites. Our firm Navigate Boomer Media implements campaigns regularly across our 120 sites with banner ads, content email, mobile and caregiver databases reaching this exact target market effectively. Your apology is accepted. Nancy

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