Companies that continue to ignore the over-50 set do so at their peril, as "boomer consumers" eat up a larger slice of the nation's spending pie.
Increasingly, the 77 million of them are being ignored by advertisers and marketers. They're being elbowed aside, ironically, by 18-to-49-year-olds, the very age group that they, in their younger years, put on the map as the most desirable consumer cohort. But the realities are changing, and any company that ignores them will be doing so at its peril over the next decade or two.
Here’s the pull quote from the cover of my book, first edition published in early 2005:
“It will be the Baby Boomers who will be the first to pick and choose, to ignore or be seduced by leading-edge technology marketing. There’s a simple reason for this. We have the money to buy this stuff. Experts say we’ll continue to have the money for at least the next twenty years. Write us off at your own peril.
And there’s a whole chapter about “Being elbowed aside, ironically, by 18-to-49-year-olds, the very age group that they, in their younger years, put on the map as the most desirable consumer cohort.” Pulled from the chapter:
Partly to save their hides, ad agencies turned their creative departments over to twenty-somethings. The sheer size of Baby Boomers made them the market—composed of scores of unwieldy cohorts. By attrition, this would have occurred naturally. It just happened ten or fifteen years sooner than with previous generations coming of age.
Barely out of college, Baby Boomers were in control of marketing and advertising to themselves—and became successful at it. After all, we knew the market.
The Barron’s story and video also covers subjects discussed numerous times in my blog:
The Backlash: If every time someone over fifty sees a commercial targeting them and it’s always for an age-related product or service, pretty soon their eyes will glaze over, they’ll get itchy and grumpy.
The Real Issue: Marketing and advertising folks grasping the fact that Boomers will be buying billions (trillions?) of dollars worth of non-age related products for the next twenty-odd years. If you target this group for toothpaste, computers, clothes, food, nail polish, sporting equipment, toenail clippers - anything at all (almost), and you do it with respect and finesse, they will appreciate and consider your product.
Another pull from the Barron’s article:
… A disproportionately large number of advertising copywriters, account managers and art directors are young. "Ask them to do an ad targeting the 50-plus demographic, and they default to a gray-haired senior limping down a beach trailed by an aging golden retriever," he adds.
That’s my book. Read a review:
Advertising to Baby Boomers
by Joyce M. Wolburg, Journal of Consumer Marketing
I thought it was just me, but after reading Advertising to Baby Boomers, I now put the blame squarely where it belongs – on the copywriters. Most are Gen-Xers or members of Gen Y, who understand very well how to communicate with their own cohorts, but often fail to resonate with Baby Boomers.
So … not much new from Barron’s for me or my readers, but certainly worth passing along:
Related Post from 2007:
Barron's "Geezer Power"