They are the generation that seemed to change everything—or at least many think so. In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, author P.J. O’Rourke cynically claimed that the baby boomer generation of Americans, born between 1946 and 1964, recreated and defined the “self,” becoming the “Me Generation.” Perhaps. But our elders were the first generation that valued a passion for one’s vocation as a replacement for a slavish devotion to one.
Boomers, we millennials aren’t all that different from you. The majority of us have more than five friends at work, the fifth most popular job title for us is “owner,” and half of us will travel for leisure with friends. Which means we DO value our work; we just value the lifestyle more and incorporate this heavily into our innovation and entrepreneurship. Millennials have clarity of mind when it comes to generational identity and have a strong sense of global connectivity. Also known as Gen Y’ers, we remain optimistic and passionate about the future and our role in its creation, despite being set back by the Great Recession. For this, we thank you. Well, enough about us.
Like us millennials, the boomers are politically progressive and free spirited. While globally we number nearly 100 million young and strong, they comprise 25% of the total US population. Boomers are health conscious, want to experience life for the sake of experience, desire inner peace, and are transfixed by the Internet. Bill Clinton was the first boomer president and probably still reads Playboy for the articles, but now online.
Boomers gave us sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, and they lived it. Yes, it sounds pretty corny, but so does Movember for those of you who dared to be daring. By the way, Tom Selleck is technically a pre-boomer. And, of course, boomers don’t think a tie is that important either, as long as you have fresh- brewed green tea to go with the Travel Channel while they relax in the folds of a reclining massage chair perched in your reception area.
Now, they are the wealthiest sector of society and have ample time to devote to themselves. Despite age-defying therapy, they are getting older and will need love and affection from those who provide care. They carry the universe around in pockets and glasses powered by Google and someday will be the ones in the exam lanes and surgical suites. Boomers may have spent their fortunes on cocaine and junk bonds, played “Hotel California” in finished basements and basketball at Michael Jordan’s fantasy camp, but they are also our partners, NOT bosses, in the care of their eyes. Appeal to their collective experience and recognize what drives your collaboration.
Communication is the key. Word-of-mouth marketing accounts for more than 90% of the product information transfer, but you can teach an old dog new tricks: Nearly 85% of adults age 50 and older research health and wellness online. It is anticipated that in the next 10 years, US baby boomers will increase their annual spending on wellness-based services from $200 million to $1 trillion.1 Healthy aging should be understood through their “Yellow Submarine”-inspired lenses (I’ll take the pun) and with an appreciation of their changing physical demands. Boomers recognize the added value of lifestyle maintenance and modifications of traditional services to create an enhanced outcome and unique experience. Do not be afraid to speak a language that emphasizes quality and be clear to outline the potential return on investment.
Knowledge is at our fingertips, and the marketplace responds to your mastery of 3-D surgical guidance, nanoscopic implantable devices for the treatment of glaucoma, and, of course, laser-assisted wavefront optimized lens-based surgery for the correction of advancing presbyopia. The common thread is the pursuit of individual enlightenment through hard work.
But keep it real.
1. Pilzer PZ. The Next Trillion: Why the Wellness Industry Will Exceed the $1 Trillion Healthcare (Sickness) Industry in the Next Ten Years. VideoPlus; 2001.