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Marketing to Boomers: Thoughts from our Parents

Here at Red Door, we pride ourselves on being chock-full of creative ideas. But, while the ability to brainstorm often comes standard for RDI-ers, as we serve our clients and strive tp operate as an invested extension of their respective teams, once in a while it’s nice to gain some fresh, outside perspective on issues at hand. After all, our M.O. is the Red Door purpose: Together we create to help each other win.

Last week, as a part of the LinkedIn-sponsored “Bring IN Your Parents” Day (or BIYP Day), we decided to introduce our parents to more than just our award-winning company culture; we put them to “work” during a client brainstorm. Think of it as friendly pay-back for us stapling papers, organizing files, and doing endless photocopying during Bring your Children to Work Day! Since one of RDI’s client’s target market is the 55 and older demographic, we got to thinking – our moms and dads are the perfect people to talk to (not that we’d reveal their true age – we’re sure they’re actually still about 22). So, we put together a focus-group-like discussion hinging on one big question: “What are your thoughts on experiencing life after turning 55?”

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Participants in the brainstorm included three moms and two dads; some of whom spoke in anticipation of the near future, and others spoke from several years of experience. Our parents conclusively voiced opinions that suggest marketers could be missing the mark when it comes to targeting the Boomer generation.

We’re backing this bold claim with the three, highly-scientific,* most-shared insights gleaned from the focus group:

1. Retirement isn’t all about rest and relaxation at home. 

People born after 1946 and before 1965 look forward to or enjoy retirement because it’s flexible. It’s about waking up whenever, volunteering in ways they couldn’t while working and spending less of their days as slaves to a schedule. Retirement to this generation doesn’t necessarily mean taking a vacation that will last the remainder of their lives.

2. The 55+ chapter of adulthood should be fun and fresh.

Our parents shared that they feel modern marketing doesn’t resonate with their age range well because the messaging seems either too old or too young for them. This is significant in that Boomers claim they don’t feel old and they’d actually prefer an entirely new word for “retirement”; but, they’re also totally over the career-driven hustle that often categorizes adulthood for those in their 30s and 40s. Our parents are open-minded to fun adventure after 55 and they hinted at being revitalized by turning the page to a new chapter in their lives.

3. Boomers look forward to more face-time with family.

Everyone in the group indicated a desire to spend a significant amount of time with family—specifically, kids and grandkids – once retired. Communities will have to be conducive to families where kids are able to make noise and play. Many of our parents expressed that their parents (read: our grandparents), or people age 75+, lived or currently live in communities and spend their time in places that are not particularly kid friendly. Those places don’t sound like paradise to our parents. Instead, with more free time on their hands after retirement, they’re looking forward to becoming babysitters for their grandkids and they envision fun-filled weekends with the whole family. 

To summarize: 
Once again, our parents taught us something. We were happy to learn more about how they want to be spoken to through advertising and we hope we were able to give them a little insight into what we do on a daily basis. In fact, a few parents said that they didn’t even want to “retire.” Instead, they plan to keep doing what they love, work or otherwise, on their own terms, a few even said they’d come work for us! Watch their reactions to working at in this video.

We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below; do you think there is a missed opportunity to speak to this demographic?

* As much as we listen to their insights and learnings, this was in no way a formal, un-biased data collection. This post is a summary of observations made during a creative exercise we did with our awesome parents that does open up the possibility for future research.



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