January 20, 2017

Keep Baby Boomers in Mind

Keep Baby Boomers in Mind

For years, we have all been bombarded with the idea of appeasing millennials. We understand what differentiates them from the rest, what they prefer, and what they are (and aren’t) willing to do. From major corporations to small associations - many have overhauled their business practices in order to appeal to this younger generation.

Have we left behind a vital generation: Baby boomers? While millennials have officially surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation, does that mean we just throw baby boomers to the wayside? Absolutely not. This generation did not grow up with smartphones, webinars and online billing. Rather, they have been forced to either keep-up or get-out when it comes to technology and how it affects everyday life. It’s important to remember that baby boomers are a critical piece of your association’s puzzle. Don’t leave this generation in the dust - make room for them in your association.

Why You Need Them

If your association is like many others, it has been prepared to deal with millennials in order to get them in your pipeline. While that is a strategic initiative, it’s important to appeal to other generations as well. It may not seem obvious, but baby boomers are probably a substantial portion of your member base. As baby boomers enter retirement, they may not be as inclined to remain active members. This is because many employers pay for membership dues and fees for professional purposes. Without this stipend, these members may not find value in their experience any longer. As an influx of baby boomers churn, your revenue stream may see the effects. However, if your association markets to this demographic strategically - it doesn’t have to be this way.

You'll Have to Get in Their Heads

Since millennials have burst onto the scene, there has been an abundance of research conducted to see what keeps them engaged. Can we truly say the same for baby boomers? To ensure that your association is marketing the right people the right way, you must segment your members and understand what they value. Is it events so that they can connect with like-minds? Maybe it’s online courses they can’t get anywhere else? Chances are, what engages a baby boomer is different than a 25-year-old professional.

Luckily for you, you don’t need the help of a crystal ball to obtain this information. By tracking and extracting member engagement data - you will have the opportunity to hone in on these areas of interest. Not sure how to get this data? Enlist the help of your AMS to measure the success of your association’s initiatives. Get a baseline for your member engagement by tracking the following metrics:

  • Location
  • Years of membership
  • Annual event attendance
  • Participation in activities
  • Webinar registration
  • Product purchases

These metrics will give you insight into what your members value. Additionally, your staff will have the ability to tailor and promote membership benefits to specific demographics - including baby boomers.

Give Them Practical Skills

Not everyone has the luxury of retiring at 65; additionally, not everyone wants to. Many baby boomers reinvent themselves during the course of their mature lives. Your association has the opportunity to give them a sense of purpose. Teach them something new. Give them ways to gain new skills and embrace their entrepreneurial abilities. How do you do this? Easy!

  • Offer continuing education courses. These are developmental classes utilized to advance their careers. Members tend to join associations for these courses, as they often can’t get them anywhere else.
  • Don’t fault those that aren’t tech savvy. Your association can offer technology seminars and/or courses to those who wish to expand their knowledge on all things technology. Whether it’s Twitter 101 or how to effectively use member portals - your members will be able to access a set of skills they didn’t have before and use them in their everyday lives.

Think: Marketing

This is where things can get a little tricky. Not every member in this segment is the same. Many baby boomers utilize the internet proficiently - almost 80% to be exact. But do they all prefer this as the medium to get information? What about members that prefer tangible marketing content? It’s your job to research and find out how these members like to receive association information. One thing is for sure, e-marketing is still a strong method of marketing when it comes to boomers. Many members 65+ have a personal email account that they use regularly, so make sure to keep that in mind.

Your association is probably just getting accustomed to marketing to the younger generation. What about your more mature members? Segmenting your members and targeting them separately is vital to your association's success. Sending a millennial something that affects someone 65+ probably isn’t going to be effective, if even acknowledged. It’s important to know your audience and speak their language.

As the association world has been so focused on incoming millennials, have we left baby boomers behind? We’re so caught up with social media, instant gratification and technological advancements that we’ve forgotten to make sure everyone is on board. It isn’t fair for baby boomers to not benefit from their association simply because we’ve had to switch gears. By adjusting some of your practices, you will find that it’s easy to cater to everyone - that means all generations.

To learn how MemberSuite can help your organization better segment messaging and benefits to your variety of member demographics, check out our web demo by clicking here.

Kelli Eidson

Kelli Eidson is the Senior Marketing Manager at MemberSuite.

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