Management and Consumer Behaviour
The baby boom generation consists of those people who were born during 1946 to 1964. They would now be belonging to the middle age bracket or the old age bracket of the society. But due to many factors, there influence and impact has been very strong and thus their name would always be remembered in history, despite the stage of the life cycle that they would be in.
they were large in size, they were born in good, prosperous times, they were influential enough to bring change, they were involved in controversies, they were selfish enough to do what they like, well ignoring the past norms and ways of living and as some doctors and psychologists put it, they even had unique and different personalities than the generations that came before and after it. Thus, the baby-boomers become a very lucrative target market for the marketers, who are in the constant drive to sell their products and have a lasting impact on the consumers.
As far as marketing to the baby-boomers is concerned, marketers will have great time marketing to this age group since it is very receptive to change, and also always looking for excitement within a boring set of things.
This generation has a fine appetite for all sorts of possessions, whether material, psychological or spiritual and thus marketers can make use of these various characteristics that the age group possesses and market their products successfully.
The baby boom generation is the people who were born during the years of 1946 to 1964.
Considering the fact that it is 2009 right now, these people would fall under the age bracket of 45-63 years. It is quite ironical that the generation which is nearing old age or can easily qualify as old, is being given the name of the “baby” boom generation still. But the influence of the baby boom generation is supreme and it would be helpful to study the background due to which they gain this edge over all other generations. (Owram, 1997)
Background Of The Baby Boom Generation
The influence that the baby boom generation makes is actually due to three reasons. The first reason is that their size was very big. There was an all time low rate of live births in the mid 1930s but when the era of 1946 onwards came, the number of babies getting born increased and as one of the writers Owram says that “The greater the proportion of young people, the greater the likelihood of cultural and political change. ” Even right after the baby boom generation years collapsed, that is after 1964, the birth rate fell drastically in the 1970s. This shows that there was actually a baby boom in the era of 1946-64, since the numbers of babies getting born were actually a boom in terms of their numbers.
The baby boom generation was so large in number that they started becoming prominent among the larger lot and they were overshadowing the generations that had come before it as well as the generations that had come after it. The baby boom generation has passed through a very major chunk of their life cycle as of now, and throughout this journey, they have influenced the culture, society, economy, and politics and as now we will see, the marketing of the country within which they have lived. (Green, 2006)
The second reason for the strong influence that they have is that they were also the richest generation of all times. They were fortunate enough to be born in times when the economy was flourishing and the bad times had gone. The baby boom generation, if seen from another point of view, was born post World War II, and since World War II was a serious bloodshed of the worst combat among the whole world, prosperous times had far gone by. And right after the World War II, when good times were back, this is when the baby boom generation was born.
The two decades in which we say that the boom generation was born were the same two decades in which the Western World had some of the most economic growth in its history. And such growth was actually sustained growth, since it built into itself and was prolonged for years to come. Thus, the baby-boomers were the generations who had the best food, who received the best education and who were the healthiest as compared to their preceding and succeeding generations.
Boomers could be said to be born with a golden spoon in their mouth since they did not have to worry about where their next meal would come from, and survival was the least thing they thought about. They were enjoying the luxuries of life at their very disposal. Such conditions are definitely a generalization, and cannot be said for individual families or baby-boomers. But, broadly speaking, they apply to the generation of the baby boomer quite well. (Harris, 2003) And thirdly and lastly, the baby-boomers were born in an age which brought change, which aroused excitement within the Western World.
It can be said that it was due to the influence of the baby boomers themselves that this change was brought. Its said that this generation transformed the society quite drastically. To be an integral part of such a transformation, gives these baby boomers quite an edge as compared to the other generations and thus their influence increases overall. The baby boomers, due to the preceding two reasons, had utter confidence in themselves. They were large in size and they were better off than the previous generations and thus confidence came with the package.
They had formed various expectations out of what could be; they could sometimes be idealistic, sometimes materialistic. But whatever the case was, the baby boomers wanted to rebel against history and how it was time that the present (the baby boomers) took control of the present times as well as their own future. Old norms, values, rules, customs were all under scrutiny of the baby boomers. As Owram (1997) again puts it very tactfully: “To these three historical forces – numbers, affluence, and the link to a turbulent decade – it is possible to add a fourth, more controversial factor.
” This fourth factor is the fact that the baby boom generation has always been involved in controversies. Since they were the Spartans of change, controversy can be said to be their middle name. One such controversy, where there would always remain room for debate was the fact that the baby boom generation was different not just in terms of their sheer size and good luck, rather in terms of their personality and the mental abilities they possessed.
This is a collective assumption and it is said that they, with their unique personality, could have special effects on the society. (Owram, 2007) Another very subtle observation made about the baby boom generation is that they were also selfish. When they were young, they had so conveniently overshadowed everything else and enjoyed their young times by doing everything which is associated with youth. Now that they are of old age and middle age, the society is not that interested in the youth of today.
Therefore, be it the preceding generations or the one who have succeeded it, the baby boomers will stand out in their magnitude, power, controversies, society-changing habits and unique personalities. Therefore, even before the baby boom generation hit adult hood, they had generated a lot of attention with the authors, debaters, philosophers, and thinkers, which is quite an enough fact to gain attention. (Gillon, 2004)
Why Baby-Boomers Are A Good Target For Marketers?
Marketers are always on the outlook to make sales of the product that they are marketing through the AIDA principle. They want to catch the attention of the target market, arouse the interest as to what the hype is all about, once they get to know about the product, ignite the desire within the target group for the product and finally, an action of the target group in which they purchase the product. As far as baby boom generation is concerned, they are a very lucrative age group for the marketers to target.
This is because the age of baby boomers is called the age of change and excitement. This means that they are always on the look out for excitement and something new. Therefore, to grab the attention of the baby boomers should not be a difficult task for the marketers. Moreover, since this age group has a very healthy appetite for various sorts of possessions, a well-made ad would definitely arouse the interest within them.
Then if the marketing campaign portrays the characteristics of the product in a desirable manner, the desire will also ignite. And finally, the action of buying will take place as a result of the three preceding steps and the external factor that the baby boomers belong to the rich age group will also be a prominent factor, since money would never become a hindrance in the desire of the product and the purchase of the product. (Schiffman, 1997)
Baby boomers are not short of money, and as of now, they are even retiring early than the usual age bracket since they have accumulated enough from the great jobs that they were working in or they could easily live off the rest of their lives depending on all the fortunes that their previous generation left them. Therefore, marketing to the baby boomers is like marketing to a premium class. The marketer has to make sure that the product is good enough to have repeated purchases, but the first trial purchase is something which the marketer can promise its organization if the target market is the baby boomers.
(Foxall, 1980) The decision making power as to what would be purchased and what not usually lies in the hands of the bread winner of the family or the head of the family, and as of now, the baby boomers would be in their middle aged or old age stage, thus depicting the fact that their age alone is enough to have a considerable influence on the purchasing decision making. (Rice, 1993) Moreover, the baby boomer generation, as mentioned earlier, is a generation which still lives in an ideal world, full of expectations and hope.
Thus, if marketers would make use of this characteristic, they would be able to make good sales of their products and make the baby boomers their loyal customers. As Green puts it, marketers should truly understand and act on its idiosyncrasies, values, dreams and goals. And this is when the baby boomers will be glad enough to totally agree with the marketers thus making sales and leading to a successful marketing campaign. (Hawkins, 1994)
The baby boomers even in the age group of 45-63 will continue to redefine how things are done and thus they will change the market of many products, even those who are in the maturity stage of the product life cycle. Such industries which have reached maturity but can be significantly altered by the baby boomers are the travel & leisure, fast food, apparel/retail, technology, fashion, health and that of financial services. As far as the fashion industry is concerned, the marketers have a very smart target group in the shape of 45-63 year old women who do not want to look their age.
Basing the assumptions about the unique characteristics of their personalities, the women are strong-headed, rich, are excited about change, are confident and want to be a strong influence. Thus the fashion and cosmetic industry can earn quite a lot of revenue by targeting this age group of women and making them their loyal customers. (Keilor, 2007) CONCLUSION In conclusion, it can be said that even though the next two decades will bring definite old age to the baby boomers.
Some will die, some will get retired from the workforce, one cannot be sure that they would still leave the spot of controversy. They would still gain attention and give the retirement stage of the life cycle a new meaning by adding change and excitement to it too. Thus, the baby boomers have been and will always be a generation to remember since they will always be receptive to change and new ideas and this is what marketing also tries to attempt doing: grab the attention of the consumers with innovative techniques and gain that competitive edge of the product in terms of other competitor products.
- Foxall, G. (1980) Consumer Behaviour: A Practical Guide.
- Wiley. Gillon, S. (2004) Boomer Nation: The Largest and the Richest Generation Ever and how it changed America. Free Press.
- Green, B. (2006) Marketing to Leading Edge Baby Boomers: Perceptions, Principles, Practices. Paramount Market Publishing.
- Harris, L. (2003) After fifty: how the baby boom will redefine the mature market. Paramount Market Publishing.
- Hawkins, D. (1994) Consumer Behaviour: Implications for Marketing Strategy.
- Irwin. Keillor, B. (2007) Marketing in the 21st century. Greenwood Publishing Group.
- Owram, D. (1997) Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby Boom Generation. University of Toronto Press.
- Schiffman, L. (1997) Consumer Behaviour. Pearson Education Australia.
- Rice, C. (1993) Consumer Behaviour: Behavioural Aspects of Marketing.
- Butterworth-Heinemann Walker, D. (2002) Long-term Care. GAO.