There is a Baby Boomer customer crisis in America, and many companies don't know it. The spoils will go to those companies who perceive the crises and out-connect and out-service their competitors.
The Boomer markets (those between 53 and 71 years of age) are comprised of approximately 78 million customers. Several media surveys discovered that approximately 17%
of all those surveyed in the 45 and over age groups believe that online advertising is intended for them.
Seventy percent of all Baby Boomers surf online. It’s
estimated that those 50 and up spend more than $7 billion every year in online purchases. According to a Pew survey, Boomers are outspending every other affluent category by $1 trillion per year. It
was predicted that annual spending would exceed $4.6 trillion per year by 2015, and it has. The aging Boomer customer is today's target population and, even more so,
But is the Boomer customer king? We think not. Why is there such a gap between customer expectation and performance? There are several factors that
cause the gap:
- Management may be aware of the surface problems but doesn’t understand the seriousness of the deep and abiding reasons that drive Boomer
- The information that companies look at is misleading or incomplete; they don’t think the service problem is as serious as it
- Research findings tell us that, in general, employees have negative attitudes toward Boomer customers or "myth-interpret" Baby Boomer motivations,
actions, values, needs or behavior.
Through a process to change your and your employee's frame of reference toward the Boomer customer, you can make significant progress
and improve the position of your company, now and in the future. To begin the process, we suggest you:
- Better understand the physiological, behavioral and
emotional changes related to the aging process. Understanding life stage behavior is one of the most significant keys to success in this market.
willing to change your frame of reference (paradigm shift). Don't let "Boomer customer myopia" interfere with an intelligent approach to improving Boomer customer satisfaction.
- Collaborate to shape a culture (actions, beliefs, and behavior) that makes superior service to Boomer customers as natural as thinking. In larger organizations,
surface a "champion," and empower and enable him/her to take action necessary to assure the vision, goals, and strategies
of Boomer customer service improvement are actualized. In smaller companies, the entrepreneur is the "champion."
- Develop a culture
through managing the changes necessary, to support the belief that the service delivery staffs are the most important people in the organization -since it is they who serve the customer. The
environment you create for the staff is the world they will create for the customer.
- Avoid using the age of target markets as
the determining factor for service development or modification. Use your knowledge of life stage changes to determine your approach to service and marketing communications
improvement. Include Boomer customers in your service design, delivery, and communications development process.
- Consider the age of those in your
company responsible for customer satisfaction and communications to Boomer customers. Younger people/staff cannot typically empathize with Boomer customers.
- Educate and train your marketing and service staff to sensitize them to the physiological, psychological and emotional changes brought about by aging. The training should be
designed to translate such knowledge into communications and service improvement and increased sales improvement techniques.
- Consider physical
facility improvement programs. Tactical actions are relatively simple to implement to create a friendly and appealing environment.
Multi-dimensional and complex, the
solution to "Boomer Customer Myopia" must begin with education, understanding, and commitment. Action on the first six points is a prerequisite to undertaking the last two. Your success or failure is
tied directly to your frame of reference and the strategic approach you take.