Articles

Guest post! Trends in Boomer Programming in Continuing Education

Thu, Aug 16,2012 @ 11:18 AM
by Suzanne Kart |

continuing educationWhile Boomers continue to move toward their 60’s and even 70’s there is a growing trend to “accept who we are”.  It seems that age does mellow one. In AARP’s November 2011 issue there is a centerfold spread on the REAL face of 50.  These radiant faces boast of grey hair and smile wrinkles. These are people who believe beauty comes from within and good friends, good wine, an important cause, and surviving a wild youth, breeds gratitude. The Boomer generation is shifting their focus from achievement (they lost a lot this last recession) and revisiting the meaning of their lives.

The big questions looming for boomers are “how much do I really need to live in retirement?”, “How can I give back and stay engaged and vital?”, “What else can I learn and do?” and the wild card, “How long will I live?” Some of the growing interest areas point to programming and marketing for Boomers:

Grandparents

Learning to be a good grandparent might be a way to redeem their earlier struggles of juggling work and parenting. But they will not be waiting to babysit…rather they will be looking for great activities to do with their grandchildren.

Aging Parents

They continue to face decisions on healthcare, inheritance and moving closer to their own mortality as their own parents age and die. They are seeking greater numbers of classes and professional advice.

See it before it’s Gone

Even though the boomers had a hand in global warming, environmental destruction and the population growth, they want to see the pristine areas of the world before they are gone. Eco-tours to major sites in the world – from pyramids to Antarctica and the Great Wall of China, are growing in popularity. At home adventures about the same topics for those who cannot travel are also growing in popularity – such as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Live Long and Prosper

Boomers will never embrace the frugality of their parents but they will seek to simplify their lifestyle in elegance AND stay fit to enjoy it. Seeking ways to enrich their lives physically, spiritually and with select materials objects draws them to classes and professionals for guidance.

I Am Not Alone

Not only do Boomers have an extensive list of connections (they use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) but they are driving the trend of pet ownership. Small dogs and felines are not just a pet, but a companion and they get the royal treatment. Classes and professionals for training, grooming and dressing are growing.

So how do these quirky characteristics impact what you are doing with your programs and marketing? You need to re-visit what you have been doing about attracting the Boomer population – no need to do a major overhaul, just a tweak. Make sure your photographs are of older adults fully enjoying the moment, engaged in active, healthy and fun experiences. Take a look at your programs. Do you have the kind of classes Boomers are looking for? Can you add more? Are you reaching you audience? What does your local Boomer population look for? Your programs can be modified or expanded to attract this market.

Don’t miss guest blogger Kassia Dellabough, Ph.D, as she shares more tips with you at the pre-conference Marketing to Boomers’ session at LERN’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.c. this November!

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