Marketing: Selling the Ritz to Boomers

By Christopher Zoukis

Harris Interactive reports most baby boomers are still in the workforce, and are a driving force in the housing market. The same report concludes 42% of baby boomers would like to retire in the South, 32% in the Western United States, 15% in the Midwest, and 12% in the Northeast. Which means the bulk of opportunity for marketing luxury real estate remains in the Sunbelt.  Image courtesy tourdehomes.com

Four out of ten or 40% of baby boomers own second, separate vacation homes. In fact, baby boomers account for 57% of all vacation home ownership, and own 58% of all rental properties in the United States. Ten percent of baby boomers plan to buy real estate over the course of the next year. Two-thirds of those will buy a new home, a second home or commercial property.

According to a National Association of Realtors survey, baby boomers expect to use a professional realtor when they buy property. Not only will they utilize real estate agents, but they will demand excellent service and expertise from their agent. Of boomers in the rich category, 97% own homes, and 47% own other additional real estate.

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Marketing: Never Trust Anyone Over 30

By Christopher Zoukis

Baby boomers believe they are special. This means they demand the best, because the best bolsters the idea that they are extraordinary. This translates to mean they are attracted to perks, such as frequent flier miles, credit cards that offer access to upgraded hotel suites, and travel packages that give them special access to creative performances, such as art shows or stage shows. It also means they desire customized luxury goods and services. Baby boomers dislike being part of the rank and file. For example, when traveling to San Francisco and visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, boomers don’t want to stand in line with everyone else to ride the ferry to Alcatraz. They want to take one of the exclusive evening tours offered only by the Blue and Gold Line. These tours cost more, but offer more personal touches, such as a visit to the ferry’s control room, and human guides on Alcatraz rather than the standard audio guide.

When baby boomers say they want an experience, they mean they want a luxury experience. Gourmet food, panoramic views and superb service are essential to this experience. They do not want to rough it or stay in a standard motel room. Only the finest hotels complete with the most luxurious decor fits the tastes of boomers.  Image courtesy onlinemarketingideas.info

Baby boomers have hectic lifestyles, because they are trying to pack so much living into each day: work, spouses, hobbies, sports, and social activities. This explains why boomers like products and services that save time. Laptop computers, the internet, smart phones, and iPads are absolute necessities for baby boomers. Service providers have to earn the trust of baby boomers. Once they do, the boomers remain loyal.

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Luxury Products Move Down As People Move Up

By Christopher Zoukis

The definition of the word “luxury” changes very rapidly. What was considered a luxury product yesterday is commonplace the next day. On a certain Tuesday only rich people could be seen wearing a certain brand of clothing. Two days later, everyone is wearing it.

Some experts call this phenomenon “product migration.” Another term used is “product devolution.” Simply put, it is “movement.” Luxury products move down because lots of people want to own them. They do not own them because they cannot afford them. So they work hard to improve themselves and their skills. They may start their own business. The result is they make more money. When they do, the first thing they do is “move up.” They go out and buy the luxury items they always wanted, but could not afford.  Image courtesy rides-mag.com 

People move up as soon as they can. This upward movement toward luxury products and services tends to pull the definition of “luxury” down. As more and more people obtain a luxury product, the product loses its luster. It is not as exclusive as it once was. In fact, it becomes almost commonplace. It becomes “affordable luxury,” which is an oxymoron, because the term “luxury” implies exclusivity. If people who make $50,000 per year are now buying it, technically, it is no longer a luxury product. And the company marketing and selling a luxury product that has become “affordable luxury” is no longer marketing and selling luxury. They are now selling a product that affluent customers perceive as ordinary. When this happens, affluent customers, who are just like everyone else, move up. They begin looking around for luxury products that are exclusive. Affluent customers always move up, never down.

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