Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baby Boomer Marketing: The Most Promising Opportunity in American History

The Baby Boomers are causing a seismic shift in purchasing patterns, transforming markets and creating new ones from coast to coast. They’re 75 million strong, and they spend over $2 trillion dollars yearly on everything from pharmaceuticals to fashion.

Right now, the Boomers are sitting on more expendable income than any other group of consumers, and they’re hitting their peak spending years.

Somehow, though, the vast majority of marketers keep overlooking them in favor of trendy teens and post-adolescent consumers. But this is just foolish, and it is rooted in ageism.

If you consider yourself a savvy marketer, you can’t afford to think this way and pass up the countless profit-making opportunities brought about by the blossoming of the Boomers.

If you want to market to this group of individualists, you need to go well beyond merely devising strategies and tactics. You need to execute advertising and integrated marcom programs that reflect their values and culture to ensure that your communications resonate with them.

And you can only do this by dispelling antiquated notions of what aging means, replacing them with values, attitudes, strategies, copy and visuals based on the power of Positive Aging.


David Ian Gray said...

Vince, I hear you. But I conduct extensive shopper research for retailers. On the one hand, married women over 35 (for example, and I know younger than 'Boomer') will complain stores cater to teens, yet they also acknowledge little time for shopping for themselves, tight budgets and lessened interest in fashion (compared with their younger, single days).

This does not mean retailers cannot do better, or carve some space for themselves better serving Boomers. However, many have tried sincerely and watched sales plummet. The Gap's Town & Country was but one example.

This does not negate your argument, only qualifies it. Fair?

David Ian Gray, DIG360

Vince Vassolo said...

Point well taken, David; however, I'd have to see exactly what The Gap's Town & Country strategy and tactics were to be able to assess why they failed.

"Sincerely" trying to attract Boomers is a nice sentiment, but it's no substitute for effectively using Positive Aging concepts that really resonate with Boomers.

I think a big error marketers make is that they try to repurpose old-fashioned techniques when selling to Boomers, when what's called for is a radically new-fashioned approach based on Positive Aging.

homecareblog said...


I very much enjoyed this article. As the CEO and founder of Home Care Assistance, an in-home senior care company, I am always urging my employees and network to embrace Positive Aging. In fact, one of my most common phrases is "Aging is not a medical condition." I encourage my clients to see themselves as strong individuals with the ability to live their lives to the fullest, despite any health conditions.

You are right; the baby boomers are the fastest growing population of the decade, and they are providing significant opportunities for valuable service. I am constantly looking for ways to effectively market to this demographic and will now regularly subscribe to your blog.

Thanks again! Have a great day.

~Dr. Kathy Johnson, PhD & CMC

Vince Vassolo said...

Thanks, Dr. Johnson. I always appreciate feedback from experts like you, so please stay in touch.