A study released by Weber Shandwick in conjunction with KRC Research revealed that companies are overlooking a relatively untapped area through which to gain competitive advantage: the relationship networks of baby boomers, or people between the ages of 42 and 60. According to the survey, which polled more than 500 U.S. boomers, these "boomer-to- friend" (B2F) connections can influence purchasing decisions for products and services. Among the findings:
- 84% of boomer recommendations are made face-to-face; 82% are made over the phone; 45% are made online;
- 42% of boomers' purchasing decisions are influenced by a company's social or environmental policies; and
- Only 5% of boomers who made a recommendation in the past year had been asked about financial services such as insurance, banking, investments and retirement, reiterating their financial strength, independence and ongoing employment as they age.
The study also suggests ways in which the findings can help marketing and communications professionals reach boomers more effectively:
- Realize the trend of personal connections and communications in boomers' recommendation practices, and translate that into the way you communicate with the demographic;
- Speak to boomers' growing eco-consciousness by homing in on CSR messaging when targeting the audience; and,
- Note the conversational gap when it comes to financial services, as boomers appear to spend the most time discussing other aspects of their lives.