Enough with the Senior Promotions!

Today’s boomers are not your typical senior

Over my twenty plus years in gaming, I have implemented my share of Senior Days. My favorite was “Senior Skip Day” for those “50 or Better.” I was conscious of wanting to offer a promotion with age requirements, but keeping the youthful fun.

Recently, I was sitting at home with my cup of coffee, excited to open an email from a company whose product I love, only to find that they had sent me an email about a Senior Days promotion. This is on top of receiving a birthday card from AARP. These two offers back-to-back (both of which had the same ultimate demise, in the trash) made me ponder the offers and the marketing message behind them. I am BARELY over 50 and at the tail end of the Boomer generation. My parents are Baby Boomers/Seniors. Not me. Let me explain.

The promotion concept is solid, but maybe the actual message is alienating those at the younger end of the market who could take advantage of the offer. I get that some twenty-something marketer thought they were being nice, but obviously someone is not doing their homework regarding this generation.

Baby Boomers are the most written about and debated generation in history. They are less price-sensitive if they believe that they are getting value in the product. Retirement is not on their mind. They are beginning second and third careers and opening businesses. These are not the senior citizens coming to your Monday promotion.

According to the Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business, marketers should not use these seven words for Boomers: senior citizen, retiree, aging, Golden Years, Silver Years, mature, and prime time of life.

How about the following when you’re naming a 50+ promotion?

  • Hip Hippy Days
  • Bad Ass Boomer Days
  • 50 & Better!
  • Young at Heart (A Coast Casinos Promotion … nice work!)

Better yet, come up with promotions that speak to what is important to them and important in their life stage, not their age. This generation wants options and the freedom to make their own choices. How about entertainment that speaks to their younger days as a way to attract their business without reminding them of their age? Also, create promotions that have broader qualification ranges. Remember that they are probably working a part-time job, so they aren’t as flexible as their parents’ generation.

I consistently hear casino operators say, “our market is dying.” This might be true, but are we really getting all the possible disposable income from the lucrative Boomer demographic? I don’t think so. Boomers are still the largest generation in history, with the youngest ones just hitting 52, so there are plenty of health-conscious Baby Boomer consumers left waiting to spend money in your casino, hotel, restaurant and spa. According to Ad Age, this group still comprises an enormous consumer force, with $3 trillion in disposable income. They are particularly open to new products and services, and contrary to popular belief, they are very technologically-savvy.

Maybe it’s time to stop thinking they are dead, and start asking them what you could do to get them to visit your property more often. Engage them to assist in creating the offers and experience, and you will find that their brand loyalty soars. To successfully capture this market you have to get the offer and the message right. Sell the emotion around what your product will do for them, and don’t just remind them that they are getting old and you want something from them.

Deana Scott 7 Articles