Seniors born in the 1950s and 1960s, known as “Baby Boomers,” created a tsunami of change in the world of marketing and communications. Now, the generation that coined the phrase “Don’t trust anyone over 30” is turning 70.
50th High School Reunion Re-imagined
In fact, my 50th high school reunion was to have been held in 2020, but due to COVID19 this was rescheduled to October 2022. The committee organizing this event decided to re-imagine our Golden Reunion Celebration and are now calling it “The Class of 1970 Turns 70.”
Boomers actually began crossing the 70 year old threshold in 2016 and will be growing the 70+ demographic population until the year 2034. Over the next ten years, our numbers will eclipse 55 million with a growth rate twice that of people aged 18-49.
Boomers Are Spenders
Currently the 70+ Boomers contribute $1.1 trillion in annual spending on consumer goods and services. According to AARP, we spend on pharmaceuticals, health insurance, medical supplies, AV equipment, food at home, personal care products, apparel, entertainment, household furnishings, and travel.
Since I retired in 2017, my wife Sue and I immediately set out to see more of this world. We took a Caribbean Cruise, three cross-county road trips driving over 25,000 miles and were planning to travel abroad until the advent of COVID19 brought things to a screeching halt.
Boomers grew up in the postwar era with a sense of promise and possibility. We believed if we could dream it, we could do it.
The Senior Mindset
When I was in my early years of radio sales, I sold advertising to a contemporary of mine that was working in his family’s pharmacy. His primary focus was on developing new revenue streams for growing the business.
He was the first person I ever knew that went to Las Vegas every January to the Consumer Electronics Show; now known simply as CES. Each year he would bring new and innovative electronic products into the store.
But that’s not the point of the story.
In my 20s, when I saw these new devices – often with some pretty hefty price tags attached to them – I would say, that’s pretty amazing, but I’ve read that next year the new model will be even better.
My friend would reply, “That’s the way we think, but people who are much older than us don’t see things that way.” He explained that their view of life was, if they wanted it, they bought it now. And if something better came along, they would make another purchase. They didn’t have time to wait around for the next big thing to come along.
Retirement is a Transition from Saver to Spender
Now that I’ve become one of those people who are “much older,” I understand that perspective. Baby Boomers are now at that point in their lives where they see more of their lives in the rearview mirror than out the front windshield.
People who are 70+ are free to pursue their passions and set new life goals for this next chapter of their lives. Products and services that compliment these things will be the ones who benefit from our spending.
I’m no longer thinking of how much I need to save in my IRA or contribute to my annuities, I’m now at that point in life where it’s time to begin withdrawing from the retirement assets I’ve accrued over my working life.
Are your products or services seeing me, hearing me, understanding my wants/needs/desires?
Time Spent With Ad-Supported Media Falls
The FCC reported at the start of this new year, the number of commercial FMs, AMs, and even LPFMs all decreased in 2021. While it came as no surprise to see the number of AM radio stations sign-off, the decrease in the number of commercial FMs should have been a real wake-up call for the radio industry.
Interestingly, non-commercial FM radio stations increased in number in 2021. Could it be they are serving up content that people want to hear?
53.4% of people’s time spent with media in the United States is with consumer-funded media, according PQ Media.
I started off this year of blogging with “Why I Stream ALL of My Radio Listening,” and in reviewing the latest data I find that our household is riding the wave of consumer-funded media for both television viewing and radio listening.
Media Post says
“While total consumer time spent with media is projected to continue to expand in both the United States and worldwide through 2025, ad-supported media’s share will continue to erode due to secular, not cyclical shifts in consumer usage of media – something other analysts and economists have been pointing out.”
You Can Save Time or You Can Save Money, BUT You Can’t Save Both Simultaneously
There’s an inverse relationship between time and money; you can spend one to save the other. In our youth, we feel like we have all the time in the world and so we focus on ways to save money. Later in life, we see how precious our time has become and so we will spend money to save time.
Long commercial breaks about things of little interest to us waste our time, so it should come as no surprise that seniors are willing to pay money to eliminate them.
People will give you their time when you offer them entertainment. People will give you their money when you offer them hope.
– Roy H. Williams
Consumer-funded media does just that. It gives us the wheat and eliminates the chaff.
The average person in America today is expected to live to almost 79 years old, that’s 28,835 days. When you turn 70, that means you see the future as 3,285 days left.
What do you think means more to a senior, another dollar in the bank or more efficient use of their time?
When people are asked on their deathbed what they wished they had more of, no one says “more money.”
Willie Sutton said he robbed banks because that’s where the money was. Today, media money is in the hands of the Baby Boomers, aka seniors.
How are you serving them with your media property?