Boomers Have More Time and Money and are Easier to Engage
Five-time author and Purdue professor Carolyn Boiarksy had a brainstorm last year: Baby Boomers love to get together, and they have money and time to do so. Organizations that provide these opportunities can benefit from the participation, engagement and loyalty of Boomers.
Boiarksy’s observation led us to create Penn Sages of Chicago, an affinity group for our alumni organization that brings together members who share interests and life experience.
The Sages’ interests include cultural events such as academic lectures from a wide variety of disciplines, including breakthrough cancer research, literature and architecture. Sages also enjoy a nice brunch served up with the chance to connect and engage with like-minded individuals who share an organizational affiliation (in this case, our university).
Has your organization tapped into the power of the Sages? We’ve defined them as individuals aged 50+ who share an affinity with our brand. The fact is, they have distinct interests—along with the money and time to pursue them. This money and time adds up to a powerful combination and the chance to build stronger connections.
“One size fits all” programming, such as holiday parties and community service have broad appeal. But for more specific events, different age and life-stage segments have distinct priorities for their time and money. Younger groups will often not attend Sages-oriented events, giving reasons such as “not at a time I can make” (e.g., during the lunch hour, and they can’t get away from their desk) or “it’s too expensive” (e.g., typically anything beyond $25-$30). Instead of the sorts of cultural programming favored by Sages, the events that are designed by younger cohorts typically include happy hours or beer/wine tasting, gaming contests, and programming for families with very young children.
Your Organization Would Be Wise to Develop a Sages Market Strategy
The Sages, who are 50+, have more time and discretionary income to spend and are looking for choices that are unique. Connections with the sponsoring organization, and with one another, are appealing.
To be sure, it’s well known that high net worth individuals can make the greatest philanthropic contributions to an organization. And that affluence does skew older, as average assets increase with age. When considering Sages, however, the newer opportunity is to craft a mass market strategy for affluent or middle income consumers who have moved past child rearing, college tuition and other large expenses, or someone who is able to cut back on work hours or has chosen to retire. At this point in their lives, the most pressing demands on Boomers’ time and wallet have reduced.
Marti Barletta writes about Sages in her book Marketing to PrimeTime Women:
“Baby Boomers, as a generation, have entered PrimeTime- most of them are 50-70 years old. This peak of life presents new opportunities as they reach the heights of their careers and, typically, the end of their child-rearing. Boomers are the pioneers of PrimeTime women. They are the first generation of women to have a college education, serious earning power, reproductive rights and property rights.”
Is your organization thinking about strengthening its bond with Sages by offering relevant, branded opportunities to connect? Or, like many others, are you focused exclusively on ultra high net worth individuals, families (who have the least time) and young adults? If so, you are likely overlooking the power of Sages.