Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Time to Learn

If you follow Collective Wisdom, you'll notice one of my favorite subjects is understanding various demographics.

My wife and I are both Baby Boomers. Think you know the lifestyle of a boomer? Better double check:

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.

Barbara made a few phone calls to family and senior services companies. She knew from the various web sites she visited -- such as,,, OomphTV, -- 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.

Nancy Shonka Padberg is CEO of Navigate Boomer Media.

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