Size: 77 million / 23% of the U.S. population
This post is part of our series on the ways that Utility Customer Relationship Management affects customer engagement. Because they serve people of all ages, utility messaging needs to be multigenerational.
The Baby Boomer generation also has two subdivisions. Early Baby Boomers are associated with hippies and comprise the majority of retired Boomers. The Late Baby Boomers are associated with yuppies. Some of the events that shaped their world views include:
A significant formative event for Baby Boomers (and for this article) is the emergence of the idea of a generational cohort used for marketing. Baby Boomers are the first generation exposed to large amounts of media, and marketing analysis that reinforced a unique identity, according to historian Steve Gillon’s book Boomer Nation: The Largest and Richest Generation Ever, and How It Changed America.
A perusal of major events during the 50’s and 60’s reveals mostly much better economic times, significant advancements in science and technology, and major social changes. Baby Boomers were drawn to social and environmental causes. Sometimes they opposed older generations, but sometimes they joined and advanced movements that the previous generations started, like environmental conservation and the Civil Rights Movement.
Baby Boomers responded to the 1970s energy crisis with the first energy efficiency efforts. The ACEEE traces the origins to this energy crisis. “The origin of utility-sector energy efficiency programs traces back to the energy crises in the 1970s, when a new concept of ‘energy conservation’ emerged to help customers cope with soaring energy prices.” (In fact, the venerable compact fluorescent light bulb, a past staple of some of these programs, was one example. “The energy crisis of the 1970s spurred the compact fluorescent,” but it was too expensive to sell at scale until the 1990s.)
The Baby Boomers are social cause-oriented. Perhaps paradoxically they are also individualists interested in self-discovery. They believe in rules, but also believe that the rules can be bent or broken to serve causes and self-discovery. This has caused significant conflict with The Silent Generation’s traditionalism at times. They have been the largest part of the workforce for some time, and they have experience and advancement that makes them likely to be leaders in both the public and the private sectors.
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Baby Boomers value goods that can be personalized and show their status, and in doing this they are motivated by youth. While nobody likes being called old, they seem to like it even less than other generations. In fact, “In her research, Patricia Lippe Davis, vice president of marketing for AARP, found that “grown-ups” was the only age-related term that boomers weren’t completely turned off by.” They reject idle retirement, and continue to embrace new technology in larger numbers.