• newswise-fullscreen Marketers are Taking Note of Baby Boomers

    Credit: University of Maryland

    America's "Baby Boomers" start turning 60 on January 1, 2006.

  • newswise-fullscreen Marketers are Taking Note of Baby Boomers

    Credit: Robert H. Smith School of Business University of Maryland

    Associate Professor of Business Janet Wagner University of Maryland

Newswise — Are marketers taking Baby Boomers seriously? There's growing evidence that they are. For example, the first ever "Baby Boomers Show" highlighting the products and services important to this generation will be held in New York City next spring. Financial services are expanding, ski slopes toned down for older knees, and there's a growing realization by advertisers that this is a group well worth paying attention to.

"The reality of the marketing opportunity presented by the aging of the Baby Boomers is beginning to be recognized by the advertising industry, at least. I'm beginning to see more ads targeted at Baby Boomers," says Associate Professor of Business Janet Wagner at Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. Wagner's research focuses on services marketing, with a special emphasis on how market loyalty is built and developed. Recently, Newsdesk had a chance to ask her about the Baby Boom Generation, and how it will impact the U.S. economy.

Q - What kind of a market does the "Baby Boom Generation" present to retailers?

The Baby Boom Generation is large, composed of 77 million members. It's also extremely diverse, not only in its demographic composition, but also in the variety of its lifestyles.

Q - This generation thinks of itself differently than earlier generations have - is that a challenge in the way products are marketed to them?

It's tempting for marketers to think of the Baby Boom Generation in such simplistic terms. However, the Baby Boom Generation is highly fragmented. Each segment of the market thinks of itself as unique. The challenge for a firm is to identify which segment or segments of the market it can serve most effectively.

Q - Why is it that marketers seem to skew young in their advertising when it's the old folks - the "Baby Boom Generation" - that really has the disposable money to spend?

Now you've hit on one way in which the "Baby Boom Generation" IS unique. baby boomers (which include me), don't view themselves as "old folks." Marketers "skew young," because they have the mistaken idea that they can cultivate brand loyalty among young consumers that will last.

Q - What industries do you see benefiting the most from the Baby Boom Generation?

In the long run, retirement communities, travel, and health care should benefit the most. In the short run, financial institutions should benefit from their retirement planning.

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