Generations by COVID: Boomers – More calm than expected but seeking to belong again

Author: Ashley Smith, Research and Strategy Director

Considerable in numbers and possessing half of Australia’s wealth, Boomers are surprisingly often ignored in targeting and by advertisers. They get frustrated when wrongly stereotyped as old and unadventurous and are more digitally active and savvy than expected. With high disposable income, they are actually open to many products and experiences typically positioned for younger generations.

How have they changed as a result of COVID-19?

Despite being the Ground Zero of the COVID-19 threat, Boomers have actually been the least worried of all generations. They are also the happiest and have remained, by and large, healthy. Similar to Gen X , Boomers were concerned about their financial outlook in April, however this has abated in June to 2019 baseline levels. The importance of friendship and maintaining good health as life values has increased during their COVID Journey.

What is their dominant motivational need right now? What do they want to feel more of?

Belonging. Boomers want to feel connected and accepted. There is  a pronounced theme of ‘disconnection’ experienced during COVID – this relates to both social contact with friends and loved ones but also many of the value-add experiences in their lives have been curtailed. Think  travel, eating out and physical shopping experiences (the majority of Boomers are omni-channel shoppers). Conscious of the dramatic actions taken recently for their safety, a section of Boomers are implicitly seeking  to be ‘accepted’ again by society.

Something else they need that sets them apart?

Word of mouth is a critical channel for this generation. Many Boomers will not early adopt a product or service until a family member or someone they trust recommends it. 

Top Priorities for Employers?

Be conscious that retirement plans may have suffered a setback due to COVID. This can be in relation to timing and/or impact on Superannuation balances. Provide access to relevant advice, resources and support.

Recognise that Boomers are more reticent than other generations to ask for help in a workplace setting, especially for issues such as mental health.

Top Priorities for Brand Owners?

It’s never been a better time to make Boomers ‘inclusive’ from a marketing perspective – they have the cash and are avid participants in many sectors from home improvement through to travel, auto and managing healthcare. 

Consider how your messaging can support the Boomers desire to feel more  ‘Belonging’ – how are you reconnecting them to people and prior COVID-19 routines?

Top Priorities for CX Strategy?

Understand that many Boomers are engaging right now in digital categories and online shopping processes that might be unfamiliar for them. Companies must ensure that experiences are user-friendly and safe.

Speed and ‘showy’ functionalities  are less important – they are more concerned with getting it done safely and right.

Be consistent in pricing – Boomers expect companies to be “authentic and truthful” and this has increased over their COVID journey.

About Motivational Needs and Mindsight®

These core human motivational needs help to explain our behaviour – why a person chooses your brand over another brand, engages with a new product or doesn’t, recalls and engages with communication etc. 

We can’t detect these motivational needs by asking direct questions – they are non-conscious and difficult to articulate for everyday people. As a consequence, our research uses Implicit or ‘System 1’ techniques to identify them. 

MindSight® is the tool we use. It is a technology enabled neuroscience tool. Combined with Sprout’s framework templates and expert behavioural scientists, we deliver a significantly deeper understanding of humans and new insights to unlock new opportunities and growth.