To get a handle on the Baby Boom market, try using the “cohort” ... to segment this huge group. The Baby Boom covers 17 years, from 1946 to 1963. ... on when baby boomers were born, there
To get a handle on the Baby Boom market, try using the “cohort” principle to segment this huge group. The Baby Boom covers 17 years, from 1946 to 1963. Depending on when baby boomers were born, there are specific external influences and events that helped shape them. Assuming that our peak formative years are 18-24...when what is going on around us will have the greatest effect on who we are, there are a number of cohorts within the baby boom generation. Here are three examples:
Boomers born in ‘46 would have been in their peak formative years between ‘64 and ‘71. They would have been affected by Vietnam, the LBJ years, Berkeley’s free speech movement, riots in Watts and Detroit, seeing the first man on the moon, Woodstock, and using the first hand held calculator, among other things.
If born in 1955, boomers would hit peak influence between ‘73 and ‘80, being influenced by getting out of Vietnam, Roe vs Wade, Nixon’s resignation, Iranian hostages, Love Canal, 3 mile Island, and the first Apple computer.
Boomers born in 1963 would experience peak influence between ‘81 and ‘88 when they would live with Ronald Reagan’s presidency, see the Bell System break-up, experience the Challenger explosion, and celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In addition, each of these groups is in a different life phase. The leading edge of the Boomers is approaching 60 today. They are the new "mature market." But, they are very different from people now in their 60s and beyond. That generation lived through World War II. The people ahead of them lived through the depression.
Baby Boomers born in 1946 were the "flower" children of the 60's. And whether they protested the Vietnam War or not, they were deeply marked by those years. They are likely to be skeptical and idealistic at the same time; to be less moved by patriotic themes; and deeply concerned about social injustice.
The middle boomers are pushing 50. They are at their peak earning years, sending their children to college, and starting to think about saving for retirement. Less idealistic than the first group, they are interested in security, are more likely to be Republicans, and view institutions with skepticism.
The late boomers are approaching 40. They are raising families, making their mark at work, and buying family size cars. Thoroughly imbued with the computer culture, they may be seeking personal freedom by bailing out of corporate jobs to become free agents or to start a business. They know what an IPO is and how to invest online.
Each of these cohorts is very different from the others. As marketers, we must use different approaches depending on whether our customers are the leading edge of boomers, the middle boomers, or the late boomers. We need to use images and words that resonate with each segment’s life experience and with the life passage they are in.
Joanne Fritz, Ph.D., publishes http://www.notyetretired.com which provides information about working and earning during retirement; and http://www.second50years.com, which brings demographic and marketing information about the mature market to businesses. Joanne can be contacted at email@example.com