Long before all the chatter about the super-adjective Millennial influence, and without even realizing it, I identified myself as a Boomerlennial. Boomerlennials are Boomer parents and their Millennial children. It’s also a descriptor for persons with common purchasing patterns.
For me, it began with a Venus razor. I was the mother of a teenage daughter, and I worked with a lot of coworkers who were childless. I discovered that many of the women in the office were still using what I called the “bulk purchase disposable razor.” Ick. Why would anyone scrape the hair off their legs with a single piece of dull metal surrounded by navy blue hard plastic when they could use the beautiful, pink, triple-edged, and aloe-covered Venus?
I was surprised to learn that, even as the uncoolest person in the office, I had some of the coolest products in my home. That’s because I was financing the luxurious upbringing of two pre-recession Millennials. And those Millennials didn’t get to that selfie-fueled, trophy-filled world without a lot of help from parents like me.
As a group, Millennial parents—many of whom are Boomers—wanted our children to like us in ways that we never liked our parents. Our parents were practical, rigid, and decidedly dull. They had full and complete lives without us. They didn’t rearrange every detail around our schedules. They didn’t care if there was a soccer game on Thanksgiving Day. Didn’t matter. We went to Aunt Martha’s house for dinner no matter what. And we ate whatever was served.
The Boomers would be different. We would be fun, loose, cool, interesting, and hip and please our children in ways that would make for long-term, maybe even unnatural, connections in which our young adult children would actually prefer to continue to live at home.
Because of, and probably in spite of, my constant need to have my children like me, they have turned out phabulous (that’s Boomer code for “Look at how successful I am”). And along the way our constant attention to acquisition and early adoption was leading our household to be filled with exciting products and services and food and technology. By virtue of being in the same house with my Millennials, I had cool stuff, and lots of it.
Hence the need for coining a definition of an important target: the Boomerlennial. The Boomerlennial phenomenon became apparent to me as I watched products that were targeted to Millennials also being bought by Boomers, with the phenomenon continuing long after the painful launch of Millennials from the nest. After all, we have some of the same characteristics. For instance, those kids didn’t become self-proclaimed foodies on their own. We took them to restaurants, and not just fast food and the family diner. If we cooked something they didn’t like, we created something special that they did like. We recreated those favorite restaurant meals at home. We started thinking in the all about me mode, too.
Today, in the post-recession clutch that has affected both groups so dramatically, we represent small households with limited budgets but are still people who want to look good (no matter how old or young), people who want to be fit, and people who want only the latest in technology. We are traveled and interested in food and culture. We volunteer. Occasionally, my daughter and I will actually be attracted to the same fashion and accessories. The lines between mother matron and hip young adult are blurring.
Next time you are forwarded another article, infographic, or webinar invitation for “What Millennials Really Want,” you might just turn to their Boomer parents for inspiration. After all, the heirloom organic pomegranate doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Five Tips for Marketing to Boomerlennials
1. Don’t Be a Drain. Don’t waste my time, my electronic charge, or my emotions. Have fun, be direct, and make it all about us.
2. These Are the Good Old Days. Retro is good. Vinyl records. The 90s. Vintage jewelry. All things that Boomerlennials share and enjoy. Not considered old-fashioned, but considered trendy and special.
3. Be Part of the Conversation. Boomerlennials talk almost daily. It’s unnatural. But we truly value each other’s opinions and referrals. Money and products are regular topics of our interactions—in person or online, via text, Skype, or social media.
4. Frugal is Fun. We love a good value, and we know the difference between quality and disposables. We have lived pre- and post-recession. Give us the love we need to feel when we save a few bucks on a special occasion or purchase.
5. Cause Me to Like You. Boomers and their Millennial babies love a good cause to get behind. Let us help you solve the world’s problems.