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Baby Boomers' Hobbies

Baby Boomers’ Hobbies: Their interests can be good for your bottom line

Unique individuals make up the Baby Boomer generation. While they don’t all look exactly the same, there are some things they have in common. One of them is time. As their children grow up, move out and start raising families of their own, Boomers’ often find the freedom to pursue interests they’ve had to put off for years. That reality presents an opening for savvy marketers, one many are putting it to good use.

Baby Boomer Julie

Julie, a suburban mom in a large metro area, is a great example. She just sent her last child off to college. Julie and her husband still work but they no longer have to go to high school concerts, sporting events or make as many trips to the grocery. They’d like to fix up a back bedroom but they don’t want to spend a fortune. So Julie, who has always had a passing interest in wood working projects, decides she’d like to build some shelves for the room herself. She has zero experience building anything and doesn’t even have the tools. But she has the time so she figures, what the heck. Julie pulls out her phone, Googles “build a wood shelf” and one of the top search items is an ad from Home Depot for Do It Herself classes.

When she goes there, the retailer not only teaches Julie how to build shelves, it sells her the wood, screws and glue to complete the project. Often, retailers will provide the tools needed to complete the project right on-site or sell them and instruct the person in how to use them. Julie finds the experience fulfilling (even fun!) and the merchant establishes what could be, with a little nurturing, a long-term customer. Julie may even become a brand advocate and encourage friends to try classes with her. We can all see the potential here.

Typically called interest targeting or affinity marketing, it’s a powerful way to attract customers using highly relevant messaging. Popular hobbies and activities with the 50+ crowd range from the clichéd (golf, fishing and gardening) to the surprising (brewing, day trading and political activism). And the marketing strategies to reach them in these pursuits are numerous. For instance, a seed catalog company might sponsor an influencer’s podcast on gardening. Or a day trading site may convene an online roundtable of experts who discuss weekly investment trends and opportunities (The average options trader is now 53 years old.)

There are many hobbies that Boomers gravitate toward. They are showing up in increasing numbers at local community colleges, affordable parks department classes and other learning opportunities. These have the dual benefit of being intellectually and socially stimulating. The same goes for church and community organizations and gardening clubs. They’re great places to meet like-minded friends. Other hobbies Boomers are embracing are volunteering and, contrary to popular stereotypes, dabbling in the latest tech gadgets. All of these provide a ready-made channel for companies to build lasting customer relationships. In fact, a large car dealership in Julie’s suburb partners with the local high school’s sports booster club, an organization brimming with current and soon-to-be 50+ members. They help the sports boosters raise money for their worthy cause and boost their image in the process.

Knowing where your customers’ interests lay gives you a roadmap to reach them.  And for companies looking to ramp up interest targeting on a large scale, Coming Of Age can help you develop a program that’s the perfect fit for your brand image, sales objectives and, most important, your customers’ interests.

Julie and her husband may never finish upgrading their back bedroom. But she has already got a taste for her new hobby and there are lots of other wood-working projects that pique her interest. And her husband has even expressed an interest too!

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