Do you know what the world’s best-selling album is?
Up until early-September 2018, it was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” A masterpiece of modern musical artistry, few thought it would be dethroned anytime soon. Then, something unexpected happened: Baby Boomers started buying one of their favorite records — “Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)” by the Eagles. Suddenly, the King of Pop found himself dethroned by Don Henley and his crew.
It’s been said that musical tastes are solidified in your early 30s. Whatever music you are jamming to during that phase of your life will probably become your sound for decades to come. For Baby Boomers, this means that Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, the Bee Gees, Queen and the Who (just to name a few) are most likely responsible for the tunes that most Boomers enjoy. This probably isn’t a surprising idea, but for retirement communities, it can open up a whole new world.
Often, we encounter senior living organizations that want to recruit from the youngest demographic of Baby Boomers — and for good reason! They have plenty of income, will probably be stable residents once they move in and lend an air of vibrancy with their presence. Yet, when we look at the events that communities are using to attract these types of buyers, we find a disconnect. Swing music and big-band acts top the event circuit, when in reality, a Chicago cover band might be more in order.
It’s an important question to ask yourself — are you tailoring your events to the residents that you want, or are you creating events for the residents that are showing up? It’s a “chicken-egg” question, for sure. As senior living marketing professionals, we have to keep our communities filled and functional, so taking a chance on an act or event that appeals to a younger crowd — which might take longer to make a buying decision — can be a hard choice.
We’re not saying that you must change your event plans overnight; rather, we’re advocating for you to think of the big picture. In three to five years, how will your community be engaging with Boomers? What music is playing when they come in the door? Are the activities appealing to the right age demographic? It’s easy for us to get stuck in our day-to-day roles and suddenly find ourselves unable to step back and look ahead.