According to the Huffington Post (June 2017), Britain’s baby boomers own half of the country’s £11 trillion of wealth. That’s a lot of economic power squeezed into the wallets of a very tight 10-year tribe, the product of a surge in post-war procreation.
What you, the reader, need to be fascinated by is what makes your ideal patients tick – and the good news is that they are living in the same world. Species, business owners, team members and patients, we are all evolving by continuously adapting to the changes around us. What’s more, the rate of change is getting faster and the ability to cope with that is something I want to address here in the context of your baby-boomer patients (that’s those, like me, who were born between 1946-1964).
The good news for dentistry is that as we baby-boomers get older, we require more complex and costly solutions to our oral health and appearance requirements. But you had better be ready to understand how I’m coping with all this accelerating change. I’m 65, in receipt of (and rather embarrassed by it) an old age pension, and entitled to free bus and tram travel around Greater Manchester, plus a 30% discount on all my rail travel. One of my favourite quotes on the development of a business (or, for that matter, a person) is from Charles Darwin, who proposed that a species evolves through a process of ‘continuous adaptation’. Whilst Darwin was inspired by, and fascinated with, the inhabitants of the Galapagos Islands, I’m just as curious as to what makes small business owners evolve, from freelance travelling implantologists to the owners of single-site practices and budding microcorporates
“We baby boomers have been gifted something that our parents didn’t have – an extra 25 years of life (if we look after ourselves).”
Society seems to think I’m ready for the knacker’s yard. I recently spoke to a mortgage broker about raising funds for a property venture and he told me that lenders were reluctant to support applications from people age 65 and over, irrespective of their financial status. My response was to challenge him to a 5k race around the village, even with my Achilles tendinitis. He declined with the resignation of an overworked middle-aged suit dealing with a slightly wacky older client. I get irritated by this particular version of ageism and know that, when I’m out riding my bike at the weekend and when I’m fit enough to run coastal marathons, a significant proportion of my fellow participants are from my own demographic.
We baby boomers have been gifted something that our parents didn’t have – an extra 25 years of life (if we look after ourselves). We also have the money (our kids have grown up and gone) and the time (we have either retired from full-time work or become better organised with simpler lives) to enjoy the fresh air and fun. Equally, we can afford your treatment! So you can perhaps understand my frustration when a financial underwriter tells me that I’m not an attractive client. So we ‘rock and rollers’ did ‘turn and face the strange’. We have embraced the technology and made it work for us. What you need to do is understand that we are there and that you can engage with us digitally in your marketing activity.
There are a few other things that Dental Principals and team members need to understand about us boomers:
- We’re more technically savvy than you think
- We’re using Facebook Messenger to stay connected to our kids and social friends
- We’re researching (and purchasing) online
- We’re writing reviews when our customer service experience is exceptionally good (or bad)
- Not only are we affluent but we’re generally digitally well connected and ready to tell our community about you.
- Use technology to keep us connected to your patient recall system
- Use Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to inform us of the difference you make to people like us
- Use a regular email newsletter to inform us of
- the latest developments in your team and your capabilities
- Allow us to book online
- Allow us to chat live to your front desk and TCO team
- Ask us to review
- Ask us to provide video testimonials.
Above all – acknowledge that we’re just as digitally savvy as your other patients. In terms of me, I’m 65 and I’m the best thing you have ever had to promote your practice. Pretty soon I’m going to get older – so you had best make hay while my sun is shining – and engage me as an ambassador for your brand. As David Bowie sang, ‘Time may change me but I can’t trace time’.