SPECIAL REPORT: MHW Audience Urged to Recognize the Characteristics of the Echo Boomers

By Keat Foong, Executive EditorDenver–Panelists speaking at a session at Multi Housing World 2008 Conference and Exhibition encouraged the audience to recognize the characteristics of the children of the Baby Boomers and target their marketing appropriately. The title of the session was “Reader’s Choice: Apartments Benefit During Downturn.” Moderator Jennifer Cox Cyphers, president of Multifamily Edge, The Cyphers Group, noted that there are 70 million Echo Boomers who will be in the market over the next 10 years. Echo Boomers are collegial, civic minded, collaborative, have good manners and are close to their parents, said Jeffrey Adler, chief property operations officer at Apartment Investment and Management Co. (AIMCO). AIMCO tries to facilitate a sense of community for this target group, he says. These consumers also want a private “funky,” and not necessarily a corporate, experience, he noted. David Lynd, COO of The Lynd Company, noted that today’s Generation Y renters do not like guest cards. They are used to buying online. Hence a lot of customer services have been pushed to the Internet. For example, site-specific portals should be provided. “The Echo Boomers are coming,” said Heather Campbell, marketing director of RedPeak Properties. Campbell said this group of consumers has a strong shopping appetite and is projected to outspend their parents by 2015. However, they are also likely to opt for smaller units, are worried about their retirement and are good savers. Because they are marketed to their whole lives, they are not as brand loyal. The apartment company needs to start building loyalty with them “by letting them know they matter,” Campbell pointed out.