Marketing to the Generations: 3 Ways To Close The Deal With Baby Boomers

Posted by Mikki Ware on August 28, 2014


If you’re a fan of the AMC show Breaking Bad, you are familiar with the meth slinging antihero, Walter White. The day after his 50th birthday, Walt found out he had terminal cancer. And in an effort to leave savings for his family after his death, he turned to a life of crime and drug dealing. But what if Walt had a bank or financial advisor who could have given him options? He had a credit union, but how could they have reached out to Walt sooner so that he would have had a solid financial future in place, even before his diagnosis? More to the point, how would they have reached him?

In our previous posts in this series, we have discussed the tech savvy Millennials, and the equally tech savvy but more cynical Gen-X’ers. Now we will discuss the more seasoned baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. Younger Boomers are reaching seniority in their careers, while those on the older spectrum are entering retirement age. According to Gallup poll, 89% of Boomers have at least one checking, savings, or money market account. They most likely have empty nests, and have access to quite a bit of disposable income. In fact, Boomers earn about 47% of all income in the US, and own a staggering 80% of all the money in savings and loan organizations (The Financial Brand).

Here are 3 needs a bank can fulfill for Boomers, and how to close the deal with them.

1)      Bricks and Mortar – Walter White (the aforementioned terminally-ill meth dealer) always used a flip phone, and you never saw him on a computer (although his younger, Gen X wife did some internet searches). Boomers, while not completely out of the technological loop, still appreciate the personal attention offered at bank branches.

How to close the deal: Make sure your staff is friendly and knowledgeable about your customers and their financial histories so they can offer Boomers the appropriate products and services. A sense of community is important to Boomers, so consider customer appreciation days and other on-site activities that bring customers to your bank.

2)      Youth and Adventure – If you think that Boomers are only interested in estate planning and retirement funds, think again! This group, having finished raising their families and building careers, is looking to enjoy themselves.

How to close the deal: Avoid labels like “seniors” and “mature” or terminology like “golden years” or “aging.” Auto loans (remember Walt’s Chrysler 300 SRT8?), and products for utilizing their home equity are solutions that might interest this group.

3)      Technology and Convenience – Just because Boomer’s like the option of visiting a building, doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the ease and convenience of online options. The Gallup study shows that 75% of Boomers had used online services in the last six months. 71% used online banking on a weekly basis – almost equal to the Gen X and Millennial generations.

How to close the deal – Don’t back away from mobile and social media! Offer a mobile version of your website, a mobile app, and have a robust presence on Facebook (ages 45-54 is the fastest growing age group on Facebook, and more than half of investors over the age of 50 access Facebook regularly). Get your financial institution active on social media and start the conversation – but be sure to get a social media compliance solution.

At 78 million strong, Baby Boomers represent the largest of the generations, with the most income at their disposal. Because of these two factors, they have the potential for very diverse banking needs, including wealth management, small business or auto loans, and retirement planning. Banks who want to win with Boomers will appeal to their adventurous sensibilities, and focus less on aging.

Speaking of age – how do you market to those who are barely old enough to drive? Believe it or not, Generation Z is coming of age, and presents a completely different set of challenges for bankers. Make sure you watch for the last in our series on marketing to the generations, as we wrap up with Gen Z.



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