The internet is obsessed with Millennials. They’re wreaking havoc on workplaces across the country and flipping the script on conventional stages of adulthood. As a member of this oft-scrutinized generation, I can find the headlines entertaining, but it’s time to turn the dials to a different population.
The Boomers represent a tsunami that’s about to crash down on all consumer industries – healthcare, technology, transit, etc. — and, one that comes with advanced warning.
- By 2020 (that’s around the corner!), nearly half of the American population will be 50+
- By 2050, it’s estimated that the US will have 1.6 billion (with a B) citizens aged 65+
Think about the spending power that comes with those kinds of numbers. Joseph Coughlin, founder of the MIT AgeLab, wrote a master class, The Longevity Economy, to help us all get up to speed on potential trajectory. (The book is a must-read for anyone hopeful to engage with the Boomers and older audience; plus, the author wears bowties! #notanad #nonspon)
Beyond the dollars, the sheer size of the Boomer crowd forces us to revisit our processes and infrastructure, especially in the healthcare arena. While our society has spent the last few decades looking to extend life, the Boomers are sending the resounding feedback they also want to be well.
Earlier this month, I joined other healthcare industry professionals at the 11th Annual Medicare Marketing, Sales, & Product Summit, and saw Dr. Peter Salgo speak to this during a keynote session. He raised a near controversial, yet imperative plea to those in field – how can we shift our metrics and goals to focus on helping people live healthy, meaningful lives? (To reiterate, the word “longer” was not included there.)
Boomers will continue to force innovation in the health sector, as nothing can survive in this modern age without convenience. (Just what do I mean? Check out The Alexa Diabetes Challenge as a great example.)
These are some tectonic shifts, and the influence of the aging population is only going to climb.
This audience is not your grandmother’s senior. They celebrate aging – because they’re doing it their way. Marketers must position products and services that support holistic wellness (instead of merely prescriptions) and enable independence. Connected technologies and shared services will keep many Boomers in their own homes longer than their predecessors. And Jane Fonda is again setting the example for how seniors are embracing their next act.
If your organization doesn’t start to cater to (not just acknowledge) this group, there won’t be anywhere to point the blame. It’s not like we couldn’t see them coming.