As soon as a person has a relatively comfortable number of birthdays tucked under their belt, brands stick their hands in the air with a wide-eyed blank stare, wondering how they’re supposed to market to this generation.
It’s baffling to Sandra Hook, former NewsLifeMedia CEO and current chair at Baby Boomer website WYZA.
“It’s a generation who have been marketed to for all of their life. This is not an unsophisticated generation,” she said.
“Suddenly when they try and target a mature audience, brands don’t always get it right.”
It doesn’t help that millennials are taking much of the market’s attention, with Hook suggesting the younger demographic can be seen as a “sweet spot”.
“There’s a sweet spot for marketers and it’s that 24-39,” she said, “but this is the group that is more feared in terms of expenses and the margins they’ve got that are available to them in a disposable way.
“I guess what I would say, don’t overlook this other super savvy, sophisticated generation that is still very much out there leading a full life and wanting to explore even more of it.
“It’s kind of a caution to marketers to say ‘how well are we talking to this generation versus a younger generation? And by not speaking to the 50 pluses really well, are we actually missing out on some really great golden eggs?’”
Brands misfiring with Baby Boomers can also come down to the terminology used, said Hook.
“This is a group of people who just say ‘don’t call me old. I’m not old, I don’t feel old’,” she explained, adding other anti-buzzwords like ‘senior’, ‘elderly’ or ‘aged’ don’t go down too well either.
While millennials might be a sweet spot for marketers, so too are the Baby Boomers, stressed Hook. And it’s one demographic brands aren’t taking much advantage of.
“This is a group that will control the nation’s disposable income,” she said, and by the time many reach this age bracket, lots of things have occurred such as paying off your mortgage and kids leaving home.
“I think brands that tap into acknowledging it’s a time for reimagining [for this generation] are really tapping into this generation in a positive way.”
Hook praised Apple as a brand who has its marketing down pat for this generation. Which is interesting as only last week Tony Lee, strategy director at digital marketing agency ntegrity said Apple was a brand that was nailing the millennial age group as well.
“Maybe that’s why they’re one of the biggest companies in the world,” laughed Hook, “because they’re getting it right across generations in many ways.”