Monday, February 28, 2011

Where's the Money?

This week I had coffee with a friend on his 50th Birthday and we were reflecting on how our lives have changed in the past 25 years.

A lot of attention in the advertising business is placed on younger generations, but the real disposable income is with us older folks.

Mediapost has more:

Healthy, Wealthy And Online
Baby Boomers hold 77% of the U.S. wealth and they spend 15 hours per week online -- two hours longer than teenagers each week. Let's write that again, 77% of the U.S. wealth is held by Baby Boomers and they are online 15 hours per week. Why is that worth repeating? Apparently, there are still a few marketers and media buyers that believe people over age 50 are invisible. How very wrong they are. This is the generation of best-educated, financially healthy, ambitious, curious, creative, social connectors the U.S. has ever seen.

Here are a few highlights and insights from the technology, travel and entertainment industries:

Baby Boomers grew up with technology -- they were the adopters of stereos, large cell phones, garage door openers, microwaves, home security systems, digital cameras, computers, cassettes, CDs, VCRs, DVRs, videos and DVDs. It's no surprise Boomers embrace Kindle, smartphones, iPads, iPhones, home automation, GPS, Facebook, chat rooms and websites focused on their interests and passions.

Baby Boomers grew up with travel. Boomers watched as the highways were being built across the United States and airplane travel improved to become faster, better and cheaper. Autos were a part of culture and freedom; they took them on the highways to new jobs in other cities. Today, Boomers believe travel is an entitlement. They spend time online researching and purchasing their vacations at a growing rate.

Baby Boomers grew up with entertainment: Television, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Elvis, Beatles, attending football and baseball games, board games, train sets, hula hoops and dances. Today, Boomers spend more online than Gens X and Y. They are the largest audience for Wii and purchased the most concert tickets, making the following (Boomer-focused) bands and entertainers the highest earners: Eagles, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, U2, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Billy Joel.

From my daily interactions at Navigate Boomer Media, I observe dozens of conversations, emails and feedback that demonstrate marketers and media planners do not have enough or the right information to reach Boomers online. We work closely with our 124 web sites in the U.S. and Canada to better understand Boomer preferences, hobbies, time on sites, visitor impressions and engagement.

I recommend the following books for marketers and media executives looking for insightful information to build their brand and earn their share of the thick Boomer wallet from Boomers online:

  • Turning Silver into Gold by Dr. Mary Furlong
  • What Boomer Women 50 + Know, Think Do & Buy By Stephen Reily and Dr. Carol Orsborn
  • The New Old by David Cravit
  • Dot Boom by David Weigelt & Jonathan Boehman

If you are in the media or marketing industry, you have read various facts and stats about Boomers. Here are stats where baby Boomers have significant impact:

Baby Boomers ages 46 - 64 purchase:

  • 74% of prescription drugs
  • 51% of over-the counter drugs
  • 42% of online travel
  • 80% of luxury travel (those over 50)
  • $157 billion worth of leisure travel annually
  • 3 out of 5 new car buyers are over 50
  • 8 out of 10 Boomers own their homes
  • 1 out of 4 Boomers have a vacation home

Let me add some icing to the marketing cake. U.S. Baby Boomers will inherit $14 - 20 trillion over the next 20 years. Here are the categories of business that will benefit from the health and wealth of the Baby Boomers:

  • Financial planning
  • Education
  • Automotive
  • Travel
  • Active adult communities
  • Home builders
  • Clothing
  • Technology
  • Entertainment
  • Dining
  • Anti-aging lotions and creams
  • Weight loss
  • Hospitals
  • Automotive
  • Retail
  • Apparel
  • Packaged goods
  • Care giving

Marketers who engage and embrace Boomers in their marketing messages are speaking and attending conferences like Mary Furlong & Associates' 8th Annual What's Next Boomer Business Summit on April 29. See you there.

Nancy Shonka Padberg is CEO of Navigate Boomer Media Marketing.

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