In the mid 1960s, the first of 77 million Baby Boomers graduated from High School. They had no idea they were “Boomers,” or that they were a demographic phenomenon that would take the establishment by surprise as they crossed every major milestone in their journey toward Social Security and Medicare. In fact, Medicare didn’t exist until 1965 – a time when those graduating were not even close to having Medicare on their personal radar. Colleges were not ready for this great influx, nor was the job market. And today, the medical establishment is still in denial. There is only one geriatric specialist for every 3,800 “older Americans” compared with one pediatrician for every 1,800 Americans under 18.
Last year Boomers turned 65 at a clip about 10,000 a day – close to 4 million! And this rate will continue for the next 20 years. The Boomers are a very different group coming to Medicare than those who have gone before them. First off, they don’t think of themselves as “old” or entering the “senior market.” Boomers think they are young, and therefore, they expect a different level of communication, service and value when approaching this “new” kind of insurance. Despite many who have helped their parents through this maze known as Medicare – most are still clueless about what they need to do themselves.
The good news is they are eager for information. However, they are looking for it places that didn’t exist 15 years ago. Today, the internet is the first place they go for information – and maybe even to buy. They use Facebook to find out what their friends are doing to deal with Social Security and Medicare. They use Wikipedia to find out the difference between Medigap and Medicare Advantage. They visit websites to compare prices. This is a group that wants a lot of information and doesn’t want to rely on the “man” (www.medicare.gov) for all their answers. Boomers are doing all this from their laptops, smart phones and tablets. So it’s critical for those selling to this group to offer sites – and ones that are mobile enabled at that.
Back in the day, turning 65 meant turning to retirement. Today, many Boomers plan to keep working on past 65. Recent research shows that 22 percent don’t expect to retire until age 70 or older. So maintaining a dialog with those Boomers who are going to be “late” to Medicare needs to become an integral part of marketing plans. There are three keys to bringing these boomers in to Medicare.
One: Educate them in every way you can imagine. Use all the traditional media. Seminars, the Internet, and social media.
Two: Start early. Back in 1964 the Beatles asked “will you still need me . . . when I’m 64?” That’s when we need to start the dialog with the boomers. Remember, they haven’t a clue what lies ahead so it’s up to us to make sure they understand the ropes.
Three: Integrate ALL your advertising and marketing across on an offline media for consistency of message, and make it seamless between your distribution channels. Boomers want to do things their way – they might start out on the web and ultimately want to work with an agent. Make it easy and make it happen.
- Boomers are different and marketing must continue to evolve as later Boomers age in
- Stay on top of rapidly changing technology
- Start early
- Educate, educate, educate
- Position your company as the information provider
- Position your products as the best choice they can make
- Remind them that Med Supp provides the freedom of choice they desire
- Keep them engaged if they pass 65 and are late to Medicare
The Baby Boomers may not have realized their strength in numbers back in 1960…but it’s 2012 now. This group has been changing the status quo for nearly 60 years so don’t expect that to stop simply because retirement is on the horizon. The earlier you educate them on Medicare, the more likely they’ll be to take ownership and feel in control of their healthcare decisions. Boom! Everyone wins.