Marketing research is one of the key aspects for a company’s success. Intensive market research allows the company to identify all the factors, which can be understood as determinants of the consumer’s buying behavior (Assael, 2005). Every company needs to divide its target market into different market segments and align its marketing strategies and product offerings according to needs and wants of the segments (Assael, 2005).
Baby boomer market segment includes individuals, who were born after the Second World War, during the period of 1946 to 1964. There were two generations of baby boomer generation in this period; one was between 1946 and 1955, and second was between 1955 and 1964 (Current Assessment Report (CAR) for the Baby Boomer Market, 2002). The focus will be on second generation because they are comparatively young than first generation. Baby boomer marketing segment is one of the most attention seeker market segments. The main reason for this is that the segment is well diversified and large. The segment has ample opportunities and potential. The buying behavior of this category of customers is quite different in comparison of other demographic marketing segments (Harris, 2003).
Different types of needs and demands of this segment are required to be accomplished by different airplane transportation companies (Harris, 2003). Furthermore, the paper also presents different aspects of the requirements and demands of the baby boomer generation, which influence the marketing strategies of airplane transportation companies.
The consumer behavior is the way in which the consumer acts or behaves at the time of looking to buy something (East, 2008). The study of consumer buying behavior includes the study of consumer perceptions, attitudes, motivation factors, factors influencing consumer decision making process, demographic effects, like cultural, economical, political, etc., self-identity, consumer- lifestyle and so on (Dougherty, 2007). These are further described as:
The perception of the consumer is an approximation of reality, which is influenced by several factors. It starts with the exposure about any product/service that gets the attention of the customer, which forces the customer to make certain interpretation about the product/service, finally resulting into a perception about the product/service, which will have an effect on the buying decision process. In addition to this, Attitudes and Motivation play a crucial role in consumer buying decision process. Attitudes of the consumer include beliefs, feelings, and behavioral intention toward any object. It is one of the key factors that have a strong effect on the buying behavior. On the other hand, Motivation could be described as the inner drive of the person that reflects goal-directed arousal (Schiffman, 2007). In the context of the baby boomer buying behavior, the results are due to desire for a product, service, or experience. It is the motivation drive which satisfies the needs and wants of baby boomer through the purchase and use of different products and services (Berkman, 1997).
As the baby boomer generation has evolved through various life stages, their needs, behaviors and tastes have changed over time. For example, cocooning was considered as a popular trend during the 1980s as many baby boomers were busy raising young families and focused to stay home, enjoy movies at home and buy take-out foods. However, now when their children are growing up and the mortgages are already being paid off, boomers are emerging from their cocoons. As the baby boomer generation is getting old, the domestic and international airlines market has seen this as an opportunity to attract the baby boomers for tourism and use airplane transportation. The attitude of baby boomers will have a significant effect on airplane transportation. As many of them are in a strong financial condition, it is likely that they will choose the airplane transportation for a long journey. The motivation factor, which could motivate the customer to book their tickets, could be initiated by providing offers on the advance bookings on the tickets (Foxall, 1998).
The process of decision making follows a mental process by an individual in selecting a product after going through a mental course of action and making a selection out of various available options. In relation to this, the logical decision making is a vital part of baby boomer’s buying decision making process (Hoyer, 2009). The generation of the baby boomer has already established trends in the marketplace, as they have proceeded along the demographic trail. Tourism is no exception. In the context of airplane transportation, the decision-making process of baby boomer starts with making holiday journey plan, or medical tourism, etc. It involves inquiry about various holiday packages, timings of flights, price structure, facilities which will be provided by the airlines companies during the journey and so on. Some research using naturalistic methods show that in situations which have the higher time pressure, increased ambiguities or higher stakes, baby boomer uses intuitive decision making rather than the structured approaches, which follows recognition of prime decision approach to fit into a set of indicator into their experience and immediate arrival at a satisfactory course of action without thinking about the alternatives (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2008).
The impact of the word of mouth marketing in buying decisions is imperatively low in the case of baby boomer generation. The class relays heavily on extensive marketing research for their purchasing decisions. The usage of Internet and other technological means are also being used heavily by the class for the purpose of conducting such marketing research in today’s scenario. Further, after gathering all the related information, the class generally likes to conduct a comparative analysis of available resources (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2008).
With the help of such analysis, the selection of the alternatives that are capable enough to accomplish the requirements of the class can be done in the most effective and efficient manner. After choosing the best suitable option, the purchasing of the product or service is taken into account. After purchasing product or services, the post purchase evaluation is also one of the most crucial steps of the buying decision making process undertaken by the baby boomer class. The experience of using the product or service articulates the perception of the baby boomer generation about the product and services, which is extremely crucial for an organization in order to create brand loyalty in the class (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2008).
The main feature of this decision-making process is that it is highly structured and well-defined. Unlike the new generation, the scope of instant purchasing is quite low in the case of baby boomer generation.
Sub-culture could be defined as the course of behavior of individuals with some similar values between them. Every group has its different set of traditional beliefs, preferences, customs, and habits. If international marketers believe that consumers would increasingly resemble each other and that they eat the same food, wear same clothes, watch the same television programs, they are going to lose their clients (Lancaster, 2001). In the context of baby boomer, as the generation is in their 50’s above there would be a change in their sub-culture as their preferences are now more focused on the health and stress free life. This will motivate to plan for holidays which could be domestic as well as international.
The effect of sub-culture of baby boomer is surely going to affect the airplane transportation as well. It is directly going to help the airplane transportation as many boomers may choose the airplane transport for going abroad or may take the domestic flights. The future of traveling and airplane industry in the context of baby boomer generation is quite bright in today’s scenario. It is reported that almost four out of every tenth Canadian, traveling within Canada were from the baby boomer in 1996 and they spent almost 53% of the total domestic expenditure. In addition to this, there are certain issues on which the airline should have to work like, safety of customers, facilities, etc. After the 9/11 attack in the U.S.’ the baby boomers are more concerned about the safety, while considering to by the airlines (McDougal, 1998).
The self-concept could be defined as the self-assessment by any individual. It could be described as the multidimensional concept which is followed by the individual’s perception of “Self ” related to number of characteristics including their experience, academics, racial identity, gender, etc. It may be assessed on the basis of different abilities and skills of the individual. The self- assessment done by the individual is going to make an image of him and help to position the identity. The Self-concept of any individual could change time to time as self-assessment is a continuous process of an individual (Hoyer, 2009).
This will help the individual in taking the decision for the buying process as well. The individual will try to choose the product or service which suits his identity. The generation of baby represents almost one third of total Canada population. Most of the baby boomers are financially strong and prefer the air transport for long distance journey rather than the road transport. This is going to be like an enormous challenge as well as an opportunity for the airline industry to manage large number of customers (Hoyer, 2009).
A lifestyle trend is one of the crucial factors that affect the consumer buying behavior. It could depend upon the physiological change, psychological, age factor, etc. For example, the lifestyle of a young generation would be different to that of the old generation. Their preference for the products may be different from the other age groups; same as the lifestyle of aged people is based on their requirements (Schiffman, 2007). It could be biased on the health factor, convenience, etc. In relation to this, the life style of baby boomer generation is quite different from the new generation, which is reflected in their decision making process and consumer buying behavior. The people categorized in this category are aged above 50 years. Most of them have retired or are about to retire. In this scenario, the life style of becomes more relaxed and unique. Their point of views and preference are different entirely from the new generation. The impact of the latest trend or fashion is quite low. Furthermore, this class of society is financially strong and well established. Because of this reason, money constrains do not arise in their decision making process generally (Schiffman, 2007).
They prefer the quality and convenience provided by product and services. They do not hesitate to pay more for the high quality product and service. Especially in the context of service marketing, the focus of this generation is on the convenience and comfort. Further, consciousness about the health is also an integral factor of the life style of baby boomer generation, most of the baby boomers believe in a healthy life style. Number of health related problems are being faced by the generation. Because of this reason, they prefer the product and services, which can provide them different health related benefits (Baby boomer trends in products and services expected to reflect preference for style, n.d.).
Maintaining healthy and favorable relationship with the customer is one of the most important aspects for service industry like airplane transportation industry. It is an integral characteristic of the consumer behavior of the baby boomer class. They prefer to avail services form the vendor, who maintains friendly relationship with the them. The airplane transportation service vendors need to undertake different strategies for maintaining good relationship with their customer, so that they can attract the customers from baby boomer class (Buttle, 2008).
Marketing strategies for coping up with such trend of consumer buying behavior of baby boomer class The buying behavior of baby boomer class is quite sophisticated and different from that of the new generation. Because of this reason, a number of marketing strategies are required to be adopted by the different service organizations. In addition to this, the success of such marketing strategies is highly dependant upon the alignment of such strategies with the needs and demands of the baby boomer generation (Wilson and Gilligan, 2005).
In relation to this, the airplane transportation industries need to conduct extensive research for serving the baby boomer generation. This will help the organizations to identify the core needs and demands of the class. The baby boomer class is one of the most potential target groups for the organizations operating in the airplane transportation industry because most of the people of this class have retired or are about to retire. In this age group, the tendency of enjoying life and traveling grows up. Further, as per the buying behavior trends of the class, the priority of the class is to get centered on high quality services. Because of this reason, the class can be regarded as one of the most potential customer class.
In relation to this, the airline companies should target the class more precisely. The companies should target this market on the basis of the convenience, comfort and highly domesticated services provided by the organization. The organizations should undertake some marketing and advertising campaigns, which are especially focused on the old age persons. In such marketing campaign, the company should provide a detailed description of the services provided by them (Wilson and Gilligan, 2005).
Further, airline companies should also change their product offerings to provide exceptional facilities to this class. In addition to this, the airline companies should take specific attention on the 4 Ps of their marketing mix i.e. product, price, place promotion. In relation to this, the product of an airline company is the transportation services provided to their passengers. In relation to this, as per the requirements of the baby boomer generation, the airline company can provide some additional services, such as medical facilities, homely care, nutritious and hygienic food, and so on. Such services are recognized as value added services, which are extremely crucial in increasing the intensity of brand loyalty in their customers from the baby boomer class (Green, 2006).
In addition to this, the airline company should provide more convenient place for the booking of tickets. Airline companies should open their virtual and mobile customer care counters, with the help of which, the customers from the baby boomer class can book tickets and get information about their flights conveniently. This will save time and efforts of senior citizens, which can be classified under the category of baby boomer class of the society.
Further, airline companies can also adopt several pricing strategies to attract the baby boomer generation. The airline companies can provide specific travel packages to customers from a specific age group. In addition to this, there are some more measures related to the pricing strategies, such as providing exceptional cash discounts, provide additional facilities to senior citizens without charging any extra charges, giving priority to passengers from baby boomer class in seat allocation, and so on. Moreover, the airplane transportation companies can adopt some unique promotional schemes, such as free gifts, discounts, membership card and so on to attract the baby boomer class (Nyren, 2005).
Furthermore, the airplane transportation company should also consider additional 3 Ps of service marketing in formulating their marketing strategies, especially for baby boomer class. These 3 Ps are person, process and physical evidences. In relation to this, airplane transportation organizations need to hire efficient personal and provide them adequate training so that they can understand the psychology of customers from the baby boomer generation. By doing that a more intensive and sophisticated service can be provided to the customer during the flight (Lancaster and Reynolds, 2005).
In addition to this, companies should put more emphasis on making the whole process from booking of tickets to taking the feedbacks of the customers about the journey more easy and convenient for the senior citizens of the society. At last, different physical evidences provided to the customers, such as tickets, boarding passes and so on should be easy to handle for the customer from the baby boomer class (Lancaster and Reynolds, 2005).
Hence, the measures elaborated in the mentioned section of the paper, which can prove extremely useful for making effective marketing strategies in order to attract the customers from the baby boomer class of the country.
The baby boomer generation comprises of people born after World War II. This baby boomer generation can be divided into two different categories. In the first category, people born in the period of 1946 to 1954 are included. The second category comprises of relatively younger generation, which includes people born in the period of 1955 to 1965. In relation to this, the paper has presented the study of consumer buying behavior of the second category of baby boomer generation (Current Assessment Report (CAR) for the Baby Boomer Market, 2002). On the basis of the findings of the paper, it can be concluded that the consumer buying behavior of the baby boomer class is quite different from the other classes of society.
The paper concluded that there are different aspects of the consumer buying behavior, which can affect the buying habits of the customer. Such aspects include consumer perceptions, Attitude, Motivation factors, factors influencing consumer decision making process, demographic aspects like cultural, economical, political, etc., self-identity, consumer- lifestyle and so on. The paper has presented that the consumer buying process; especially in the context of baby boomer class is quite sophisticated (Harris, 2003).
Further, the paper has also presented different marketing strategies that could be undertaken by an airline company in order to attract the customers from the baby boomer class of the country. In concern to this, the company can attract the customers of this segment of the society by aligning different factors of the marketing mix with some sophisticated requirements and demands of the customer (Wilson and Gilligan, 2005).
In all, the paper can be summed up by saying that the baby boomer generation is one of the most valuable segments of the society that holds a prominent place in the economy of the country. In the context of airplane transportation industry, the role of this segment becomes vital.