What about Baby Boomers?

Marketers are obsessed with millennials these days. After all, their sheer number is now outpacing the baby boomers, their spending power is nearly $2.5 trillion worldwide and they represent the future. But boomers are still a vitally important demographic. Unlike yesterday’s senior citizens, who kept money under the mattress or buried in canning jars, boomers are savvy investors who will live longer than their parents and remain healthy and mentally acute well into their 70s and 80s.

Plus, they lead the pack with investable personal assets.

Show them the money

A 2015 Gallup study reports boomers are lucrative customers for financial institutions, with a full 50% having more than $100,000 in investable personal assets, compared with 37% of Gen Xers and 4% of millennials.

We all know millennials have suffered from the financial crisis … but so have baby boomers. Using Gallup Daily’s tracking program, Americans 50-64 self-reported their average daily spending hit a low of $55 in March 2009, compared with $114/day a year earlier. By the end of 2014, boomers’ spending had crawled back up to $105/day, but their habits have changed; now they spend more for needs, like saving for the future, instead of wants.

Today, nearly one in five baby boomers has more than a half-million dollars in investable assets. More than a third of all boomers have at least $50,000 on deposit at their banks. Gallup’s poll results suggest banks could prosper along with their boomer customers by encouraging them to consolidate their financial accounts with them at their PFIs.

Getting the love back

But here’s the rub: It’s getting harder to connect with baby boomers. Only one in three feels engaged with her PFI – and half of boomers are completely indifferent to it, while 20-30 percent are actively unengaged! Further, according to Gallup having a checking account with a financial institution doesn’t mean boomers will invest there; only 20 percent in the poll did. Nor does it mean they will have mortgages with their bank or credit union; only 40 percent of respondents did.

Even worse, a November report by eMarketer found only 56% of boomers have smartphones, compared with 84.3% of millennials and 78.5% of Gen Xers. With marketing becoming more digital and digital becoming more mobile, there’s a huge gap in financial institutions’ ability to engage their boomer customers. Here are some ways to close it:

  • Speak their language. Writing for The Financial Brand, CEO of Chicago-based Marketing Insights Joe Sullivan suggests marketing to the boomer generation’s state of mind. Are you talking to boomers or their parents? They know they’re getting older, but they don’t feel old – they feel lively. Check your online and mobile promotions to make sure they fit with this free-spirited generation.
  • Get personal. Baby boomers are the consummate individualists. Help them connect with your credit union by personalizing your promotional messages based on their interests. At DigitalMailer, we help client credit unions make the most of their databases by adding variable data fields to their marketing mix so they can create dynamic, 1:1 messages.
  • Target their interests. Boomers are the demographic most likely to buy new autos, making them good leads for loans. Sullivan says a car represents more than transportation; it’s also about being unique and staying young. Baby boomer also tend to have lots of home equity; while they may not want to make a move, a home-equity loan would allow for a few improvements.
  • Simplify going mobile. While boomers have yet to catch up with their younger cohorts’ smartphone usage, a lot more actively use tablets because they find them easier to read than phones. Most don’t like admitting it, but boomers could use a little help viewing their account information on a phone-sized screen. Make sure your mobile apps are easy to read, easy to use and look like your This generation won’t take the time to scroll up and down, or back and forth trying to look at a statement or account balance.
  • Help them go mobile, too. Boomers love to reinvent themselves. They’re known for launching second and third careers, volunteering for mission projects or taking on other ventures. Make sure they can access your credit union from any channel they want, anywhere they are. Offer the convenience of full-service banking through expanded mobile services – like our mobile eStatements – which make it easy to be out and about.

Sixty is the new what?

Compared with previous generations, boomers are younger than ever. Many are still working and even those who aren’t plan to stay active longer. Maybe 60 isn’t the new 30 – but it’s clearly the new sixty. With more discretionary funds than younger generations and a lot more life to live, it makes sense to pay attention to boomers, even while chasing after millennials.

Ron Daly

Ron Daly

Ron Daly is the president and CEO of Virtual StrongBox, a secure, end-to-end member engagement platform that can be integrated into various workflow processes to provide high-risk Enterprise IT firms ... Web: www.virtualstrongbox.com Details