"Boomers have both unrivaled influence and rich networks of peer advisors,” says Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading public relations firms.

In a new study conducted with KRC Research, it was revealed that companies could now gain a significant competitive advantage by creating marketing programs that target baby boomers’ expansive relationship networks. In short, the survey found that the so-called Boomer-to-Friend (BF2) communications are untapped in their potential to influence purchasing decisions for products and services.

Actually, the bottom line is that nearly all boomers (93 percent) identified their friends, who are also boomers, as trusted advisors of information. So, if you are a financial planner looking for more business, guess what? It’s obvious. Look to those present boomer clients for references. According to Dr. Gaines-Ross, “Companies can discover new avenues for reaching boomers by approaching boomers’ networks of mutual advisors and creating marketing, advertising, and other communications that portray boomers in realistic social settings to which they can relate.”

Some of the research findings that can help financial planners market more effectively include the fact that 84 percent of boomer recommendations are made face-to-face and 82 percent by phone, as opposed to 45 percent that are made online. Also, boomers are eco-conscious and a sizeable percent of their purchasing decisions are influenced by a company’s social or environmental policy.

But there is a caveat here that bears watching. The study says that despite their extensive dialogue on other topics, boomers follow a “code of silence” when it comes to financial services. In fact, only five percent of boomers who made a recommendation in the past year had been asked about financial services such as insurance, banking, investments, and retirement. Boomers’ financial strength, independence, and ongoing employment uniquely position them as highly coveted financial institution customers in need of creative marketing strategies that ignite positive interest.

Why do I bring this up? Consider what Barb Iverson, Weber Shandwick’s president, North American Financial Services, has to say. “Clearly, financial services are not top-of-mind conversation topics for boomers when trading advice among friends, family, and co-workers. It appears that boomers are spending their time discussing aspects of their lives other than financial matters.”

Iverson admits that the study points to an important conversational gap that financial planners might want to narrow if they want to reach what is considered a powerful segment.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access