They deserve better – thoughts on marketing to boomers

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Turning 50. It’s just not that big a deal. At least chronologically.

But it is for the marketers who’ve coveted these people in the past. Because the 10,000 of them who turn 50 every day are no longer part of their 18-49 in-crowd. While they’ve seemingly had them on their radar screen forever, their signal is now lost.

For the marketers whose brands are being consumed by the 50+ market – which is an exhaustive list that includes far more categories than not – marketing to boomers (and seniors) represents a lucrative opportunity. But this group doesn’t think, feel and act like it’s predecessors.

So you really need to know them in order to resonate with them. Understand (and empathize with) their attitudes, beliefs, motivations, realities and fears. And do this based on their different life stages, because 50+ as a target audience is just about as useless as 18-49.

So what does this mean for brands? How can they better capitalize on this (largest and fastest growing) audience segment? Here are some imperatives, written with an underlying belief of ours that this audience deserves better (more respectful and more useful) marketing.

1. Today’s 50+ audience is keenly focused on health, well-being, and vitality (60 is the new 40). Those brand’s that genuinely reflect these values and help their 50+ audience achieve this tri-fecta will forge stronger emotional connections with, and achieve maximum return from, this demographic which controls 50% of all discretionary income.

2. This segment is 18 years wide, and not homogeneous. From parents with kids in school, to those contemplating retirement to those waving sayonara to their 40+ year careers. So segmentation, understanding, insight and action (as well as appropriate inaction) are keys to ensuring your brand’s relevance in their lives.

3. What’s inspiring and delighting to some, doesn’t cut it across the board. So marketing to boomers and seniors requires proactively and holistically shaping offerings (knowing for example, that experiences trump things and that having it their way [no reference to McDonald’s], among other unique characteristics, is part of their mindset).

4. Speaking of “holistic”, think 360. From developing and tweaking products, to developing packaging, collateral, online content, experiences, promotion, through to execution of your advertising and even retail presence. Are you really speaking and acting in ways that are relevant to their lives, or are you merely paying them lip service.

These just begin to scratch the surface. Designed to at least get you thinking about the kind of brand platforms and marketing that these people deserve. Because the failure to address their specific interests, values and concerns just might be detrimental to your business.