They landed on my desk a few weeks ago and I resisted opening them. Now I realize it’s because the titles, while informative, are slightly off. The books are gems and if they’d been called something like Why Geezers Ignore Your Advertising, Parts I and II, I’d have read them right away. Most of the text, which is just about all research with very clear charts and graphs, was written by various experts who waste no time getting to their points.
Boomers aren’t a monolithic demographic. Sure, they’re spoiled, over-educated, fixated on youth, and think they’re rebels but some of them actually grew up. We’ve always known that Boomers are of different races, different sexes, different incomes, and different lifestyles. But who knew there were three different tiers in the realm of Boomerdom? That’s what Theodore L. Reed of Reed, Haldy, McIntosh tells us in a chapter in After Fifty.
The three main tiers, based on age, are Post War, Leading Edge and Trailing Edge. They’re all Boomers but they look at things quite differently. His evidence is convincing and his conclusion becomes obvious in a chart of Key Values and Concerns. Reed wisely added the relevant info for Gen Xers and that allows us to see how complete the descent has been from the stability and family values of the Post War cohort to the cynicism and street smart values of the X people.
In After Sixty, C. Troy Shaver, Jr. of Dividend Growth Advisors, explains the astonishing impact of Boomers on the economy, but more important to people who market to Boomers are his charts and observations of how and why Boomers spend their money now that they’re older. Assuming they have any money. Boomers didn’t save a lot, just 1.2% of their incomes. Oh, they made a lot but they spent most of it.
To me, the most compelling chapter in both books is Matt Thornhill’s and John Martin’s (of The Boomer Project) Ten Industries that Aging Boomers Will Transform. On their way to old age, Boomers transformed everything else from baby food to entertainment to, well, the whole culture. Now they’re, apparently, going to transform housing as they scale down, travel, volunteering, health and fitness, transportation, home improvement, health and beauty and a lot more. They know what they want and they’re used to getting it. Marketers who pay attention are already starting to give it to them.
These are both terrific books. They’re not the kind you sit down and read like a John Grisham novel. They’re the kind you glance at, remember the headings and then refer to over and over when you need them.
If you do what I do for a living, you’ll need them often. I like the specific “idea starters” I read about in these books. For instance the opportunities for family-oriented restaurants to create grandparents programs.
There were ideas for vacation packages, education programs, retirement.
I keep going back to the books for more ideas.
Thank you, Les Harris for sending then to me. I think you’ll want to have them too:
After Fifty on Amazon.com
After Sixty on Amazon.com