Today’s Baby Boomers are a marketer’s dream come true. If you want a share of the $3 trillion that this market has as disposable income, forget traditional marketing. To appeal to this demographic of over 78 million people, consider the Boomers’ needs.

Most Boomers are in a time of transition (doting parent to empty nester, full-time employee to retiree, etc.). They may be helping a child through college or grandparenting may become a focus. No matter what the situation, many are shifting from an “achievement” mindset to “quality of life” values and concerns.

Moving into a new stage of life, Boomers have a need to connect and identify with people in similar situations. Whatever profession you’re in, whether it’s network marketing, real estate, health care, insurance or banking, the best way to market to Boomers is to focus on their needs. To help you do so, here are the five C’s of Boomers’ innermost needs.

1. Community

Belonging to a definable group is very important to Boomers, because they’re often losing an identity in other areas of their lives. For example, now that the kids are grown and out of the house, they’re no longer the “soccer mom.” With retirement looming, they’re no longer the “over-achieving professional.” They need a place where they can connect with others who share their values and beliefs.

While the value of community is important in everyone’s life, when marketing to Boomers you need to use words and concepts that create a sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people. Consider such things as the RV club, the adventure travel group, and the retail store’s “preferred shopper” or “passport savings” club. The more you appeal to the idea of joining a group of active people who share similar interests, the more Boomers will take notice of what you have to offer.

2. Connecting

In order to connect, you need to know your audience and speak their words. This concept especially applies when marketing to Boomers. Use words and phrases that resonate with them and their needs. Some words and phrases to consider include:

ongoing learning
start now
staying involved

3. Continuity

The Boomer generation is used to continuous growing and learning. They were influenced by talk radio, Oprah, personal growth books and self-development seminars. They have a strong desire to change and evolve—not to be stuck in a box or labeled as “too old” to do something. Make sure your marketing messages show Boomers how they can learn, grow or better themselves.

For example, if you’re in the housing sector, you can advertise a new home community by stating, “Enjoy growing with new friends” or “Learn to live the lifestyle of your dreams.” Highlight the community amenities, such as adult education programs or neighborhood clubs, that will help them feel active and involved and enable them to better themselves or enhance their well-being.

4. Contribution

Boomers need to feel a sense of contribution to a greater cause—a feeling that their life matters to someone or to a group. When we’re in our twenties and thirties, professional and parenting roles often fill that contribution need, but Boomers are in transition and may be losing some of those roles.

Show Boomers how your product or service can help them make a difference. For example, a nutritional company can promote the idea that “when you buy this product, you are supporting ecological farming and fair trade.” Think of the big picture and how your business, product or service fits in and enables customers to feel they’re making a difference.

5. Creativity

Boomers grew up with the sixties mentality that says, “Don’t tell me what to do, let me choose.” Sure enough, Boomers still respond well today to choices, menus, options and samples. They want to create their own packages to meet their needs. They are bursting with ideas and new ways of looking at old problems and they won’t settle for being pushed into predefined categories or choices.

To get Boomers to choose your product or service, make sure to offer them plenty of options that allow them to define or customize their purchase. If you sell vacation packages, let them choose which destinations they’ll visit. If you sell financial planning, give them a menu of the services they can sign up for. If you offer nutritional products, allow them to customize their health program every step of the way. When you give Boomers choices and a chance to leave their creative mark on your offering, they’ll eagerly become loyal customers.

Time for a Change

In the sixties, Boomers changed the way people looked at relationships. In the eighties, they changed the way people looked at work. Today, they’re changing the way we look at marketing. No matter what product or service you offer, when you focus on the five C’s of Boomers’ inner needs, you can reap the rewards of selling to this $3 trillion market and watch your business soar.

Since 1972, KARLA FREEMAN has devoted her career as a
licensed clinical social worker to raising awareness
and developing programs for personal empowerment.
She is author of the book
Creating Magic in Midlife: 101
Questions and Answers to Reinvent Your Work, Relationships,
and Life.She speaks and leads seminars internationally
for groups and organizations on trends, health and well-being.