And the juicy irony in a few of the findings had me laughing.
I'll go through a bunch of these ten myths and … well, smash the myth that any of them are 'new' …
Myth #4 - Boomers are winding down with age
Myth #10 - Boomers are retiring early
When studying Baby Boomers, have any subjects been written about more than these over the last five or more years? Here's a quote from the original edition of my book, published in March, 2005:
Contrary to popular myth, Baby Boomers do not believe that they are still teenagers or young adults. (Some probably do, but they need therapy.) Boomers are slyly redefining what it means to be the ages they are. Included in this new definition are some youthful attitudes - but the real change is that instead of winding down, many are winding up. We're not 'looking forward to retirement,' we're looking forward to new lives, new challenges. Only a small percentage will opt for pure retirement. (I predict that in twenty years the word 'retirement' will still be in dictionaries, but followed by the modifier archaic.)Myth #3 - Boomers are technologically challenged
I've gone on and on about this one. Here's the pull-quote from the cover of the original hardcover edition of my book (click the thumbnail to also see it):
And take a peek at these posts:
My Favorite Cyber-Myth (November 2005)
Baby Boomers Burst Online (January 2006)
Baby Boomers and Firefox (September 2006)
Baby Boomers and The Joy of Tech (January 2007)
Myth #2 - Boomers are the "Me Generation"
Again - much, much about this in my book and in this blog - but to break the monotony let me also point you to a piece in USA Today from 2006:
Me vs. We
'Me Generation' becomes 'We Generation' (USA Today)
Myth #1 - Boomers are all the same
How do I comment on this one? It's such old news that if I pointed you to what's been written on this subject the yellowed ether would crumble on your screen. Read my book, this blog, all articles and books and research by Dick Stroud, Matt Thornhill, Brent Green - and three or four others over the last six years. Maybe Focalyst is also coming out of a five-year coma.
#5 - Boomers are all wealthy
I talk about this at length in my book - and about how marketers are missing out, going only for 'the gold' when they should be focusing more on core Boomers who aren't rich but have done OK and will continue working.
Myth #9 - Boomers are downsizing their homes
I have a whole chapter in my book about this, aging in place, and adult communities. Nothing new.Here's an article I wrote in 2003. It was part of a series about adult communities and aging in place.
And saving the best two for last:
Myth #7 - You can capture Boomers with mainstream advertising
Only the theme of my book, my blog, my consulting, my presentations, my marketing articles for the last five years. What more can I say? Actually, Focalyst is wrong. You can capture Boomers with mainstream advertising - but most ad agencies have no idea how to do it.
Myth #6 - Boomers are brand loyal and will not switch
Golly gee, willikers. If you don't know this by now ...
Here's a quote from a review of my book (the 2005 edition) by Dr. Joyce M. Wolburg of Marquette University, published in The Journal of Consumer Marketing:
A second favorite excuse of agencies is: "Baby Boomers don't change brands" (p. 52, italics in original). Nyren dismantles this excuse nicely with examples of brand switching, and he further acknowledges that in cases where loyalty to a brand does exist, marketers who do not target Boomers give them no reason to change.Read the full review. (PDF)
Why did I save these two for last? And why do I find them ironic and funny? Because Focalyst said these same two things in a report from 2006:
I'd think they'd want to take credit (although I beat them by a year and a half) for coming to these conclusions years ago. What myths are they smashing? Not their own, obviously.
Did they forget? Did the company's hard drives crash, all their 2006 data and research lost? Do they have collective Alzheimer's?
There's an old tongue-in-cheek saying in publishing that goes something like, "When myth and facts collide, publish the myth." Certainly in the cases of Myths 6 & 7, I think Focalyst and AARP's reputations would've been better served had they published the facts. It would've put them on the crest of the curve - not behind it.