This article presents examples of firms who have capitalized on the Baby Boomer generation through appropriate environmental scanning and analysis of social forces. Each example explores how functional use of data allowed each company to successfully expand in to different markets.
Levi Strauss and Baby Boomers
Baby boomers account for a very large portion of the population, thus they are of prime importance to many marketers. Levi & Strauss Company (www.levistrauss.com) is a good example of a company who has capitalized from the baby boomer generation. The company created comfortable jeans that appealed to the relaxed culture of the boomers during the Woodstock age and beyond. Recently the baby boomers moved into their peak earning and spending years as they approach or reach retirement. This means that as a group, they carry the most disposable and discretionary income. Thus baby boomers have experienced social and economic changes in attitude, culture and values as financial status has become much more important to this group. The comfortable and relaxed "hippie" attire has now been replaced by a more formal and mature image. With this image, baby boomers have also adapted a change in their exercise habits as they have become increasingly active and concerned with their health. Through the environmental scanning of this group, Levi's responded to the changing trends by releasing Dockers, a pant much more formal than jeans and much more comfortable than slacks. This line of clothing became their primary product as it addressed the need to look formal while also achieving comfort to support active and healthy lifestyle. Levi Strauss has capitalized from baby boomers throughout its history by addressing the social forces and changing cultures of the baby boomer generation. A potential risk to Levi's was the potential for social forces to turn the market away from their product yet again. They introduced a new product to an existing market and ran the risk of the product not being accepted into the market.
Coca Cola and Baby Boomers
Coca Cola (www.thecoca-colacompany.com) can attribute much of its success to the fact that many of the baby boomers drank soda pop when they were young. This existed in a time where nutritional information and education was minimal regarding the adverse effects of sugar consumption. When nutritional information advanced and showed the importance of water and vitamin intake, a cultural shift began to occur. As baby boomers aged, they became increasingly aware of their health and of the importance of receiving vitamins and minerals each day. Coke was forced to modify its product marketing efforts to accommodate the changing values and tastes by adding juices (Minute Maid) and water (Dasani) to its product line and marketing arsenal. Coke was able to adapt to the changes to its consumer segment thanks to its environmental scanning efforts. The risks of expanding into these different markets did however exist. There was a danger of entering a market in which increased competition, since Coke previously operated within an oligopoly in which they and Pepsi controlled almost the entire consumer segment. Its move into the juice market which had an increased number of suitable competitors and consumer loyalty was a risk that the Coca Cola Company faced.