Marketing to baby boomers Part 2

So here’s the thing. We might be getting older (baby boomers are currently aged between 50 and 70). But unless physical reality insists on impinging, in our heads we are only 25.

Last year I moved house (no, NOT into a retirement village), so some of these purchases are atypical. Even so, last year’s big expenditures: furniture, replacement laptop when mine went belly up, replacement garage door, mattress and bedding, about 200 ebooks, some TV series on DVD (no streaming capability where we live), solar panels, baby gifts for a nephew.

Next year (maybe, depending on funds): electric bicycle, garden plants especially herbs, more ebooks, a digital SLR camera, accommodation for a trip to Grenfell, Mudgee and the Lachlan River in regional NSW, possible rail trip to Melbourne to see family, dictation software and microphone, a barbecue.

Not a single mobility aid, insurance policy or cruise among these items, notice? Nothing there that someone of 25 or 35 or 45 might not want (although I admit holidays in the country may not appeal to everyone, that’s a personal preference. I like seeing rural Australia.)

Where’s the advertising for these things in the Seniors Directory I just received? Rail travel gets a guernsey, sure, but the rest of it, just not there. And you won’t see any ugly old people in “normal” ads for these things.(Don’t get me started on the sweet loving old granny who wants nothing more out of the next 20 years than to feed cookies to grandkids).

I don’t expect personalised ads. What I do expect is not to be bored out of my brain being inundated with ads for things that YOU (a 20-something marketer) think I ought to be interested in. Marketing is finding out what people want and finding ways to sell it to them. That isn’t what you are doing.

Instead, you are imposing an incredibly narrow, outdated view of age, based on century-old stereotypes, on people that it just doesn’t fit. In the marketing brain old has only two modes: either a sad bedridden old lady in a nursing home, or a rich grey nomad couple, masses of coiffed grey hair blowing in the breeze as they hoon around the countryside in an upmarket Winnebago in between rounds of energetic tennis or a leisurely excursion in the yacht.

Guess what? Most baby boomers are a thousand miles away from either of these stereotypes. We are just like you only we’ve been here longer. We don’t all want the same things. We never have and we never will. Stop trying to cram me into a tiny box of your own design. I’m not going quietly. In fact, I’m not going into that sad little confined space in your imagination at all. And you’ll watch your ever-shrinking market share and wonder why.


Marketing to baby boomers

Yeah, we’re invisible. Unless we want funeral insurance, final expenses insurance, incontinence products or retirement village homes.

Do the people who make these ads have any clue? Over 50 is not the same as 90, or even 75. We’re talking half the human life span here, people, and all you can think of to try and sell us is 4 products?

Sorry, forgot the cruise ships. Sure, that’s my idea of a holiday, being incarcerated with a whole lot of other people exactly the same age as myself. Perhaps we could pass the time comparing hair dyes or hypertension medications?

This is an absolute failure of imagination by marketers. Older people have exactly the same huge range of interests as younger ones do. Try advertising for diversity in age as well as all the other demographics. I’m pretty sure your efforts to pigeonhole people aren’t going to work. Lazy stereotyping and wishful thinking won’t get it done.

And while you’re at it, stop assuming baby boomers aren’t using technology. Who do you think invented most of it? (And no, that isn’t an invitation to fill our email boxes with spam.)

Interesting article on this topic here