Make Room for the Boomers Part 2

May 25, 2021

Boomers are back & better than ever!

As a Food Marketer, I know that the future belongs to the Millennials & Gen Z. However, as a Baby Boomer, I am not ready to ride off into the sunset (even if I enjoy a beverage on the beach at sunset during the summer).

But much like Millennials & Gen Z, we can’t lump all Boomers into one group. We have been segmenting consumers for many years. The folks at IRI (Information Resources Inc.) have been tracking consumers for over 35 years. I was one of the first IRI clients back in the 1980s when I was at Tastykake. In addition to great POS data that allowed us to see how we were performing in the market versus competition, it also allowed us to see who our best customers were based on purchase behavior.

We have come a long way since then and in the era of “Big Data” we have been able to drill down into many micro segments. For example, IRI lists the following groups of people who identify as “Boomers”.

  1. “Booming with Confidence” – Average age is 60 years old, homeowners, married with older children, living in the suburbs, high earners in their peak earning years.
  2. “Thriving Boomers” – Average age is 55, married with teens/older children, living “comfortably” in the outer suburbs and rural areas, above average earners.
  3. “Autumn Years” – Average age is 66, retired, ethnically diverse, live in older homes, grandparents, average earners.
  4. “Blue Sky Boomers” – Average age is 59, below average earners, single, small homes, small towns.

Each of these groups have smaller subgroups like “Platinum Prosperity”, “Aging Aquarius”, “Golf Carts & Gourmet’s”, “Silver Sophisticates”, “Boomerangs”, “Full Pockets/Empty Nests”, “Unspoiled Splendor”, “Booming & Consuming” and many more.

Each of these sub segments have descriptions like the larger groups. But I will bet that when you read the names you had a clear picture in your mind of:

  1. What these people look like
  2. What kinds of adult beverages they drink
  3. Where they consume
  4. Who they drink with
  5. When they drink
  6. How they drink

Many of these groups represent a sizable amount of wealth relative to the younger groups. This also translates into more disposable income which provides premium brands with the opportunity to capitalize on them. But, as we know, there is a large segment of the American population living on a fixed income.

This is why understanding your customer is SO important. Think about how each of these groups might view on-premise versus off-premise. COVID has been a game changer with regard to consumer behavior. Even those of us that enjoy large gatherings have had to rethink who we hang out with, where we meet them, when we meet them, how we socialize and what we eat/drink. And then we have those people that will still feel very uncomfortable being around strangers whether in a small or large group setting.

The “New Normal” has begun and is here to stay.

So, what does this mean for you and your business?

You need to understand how your Baby Boomer customers think about your business and how they can influence the behavior of others. This could be as simple as talking and listening to them directly or hiring someone to conduct some basic marketing research for you. Then, adjust your marketing strategy based on your findings.

Whether you are an on-premise or off-premise retailer, you need to make sure that you understand this group of consumers and build your products, merchandising and marketing programs around how they live. It will positively impact your bottom line!

And remember, Marketing is a race with no finish line.

George Latella teaches Food Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Food Marketing which is the largest major at Saint Joseph’s University recently celebrated its 59th anniversary. George is also a partner in Beacon Marketing group which provides Marketing planning, research and e-commerce/direct marketing communications for food and beverage companies. George can be reached at glatella@sju.edu or 610-660-2254.

 

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