What’s up with boomer marketing?

May 2, 2008 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

I’m 58. I was born near the leading-edge of the baby boom. I am not a “senior citizen.”

I once gave a local barber a dirty look and a piece of my mind when he offered me a senior discount. I should have shut up and kept the $5, but he caught me by surprise. I was only 55. Sheeeesh!

I was appalled when AARP sent me an invitation to join when I turned 50. A couple years later, I joined just to see what it was all about. I let my membership expire after deciding AARP is essentially an organization that exists to license its membership list to insurance companies and other marketers who target the “senior” demographic. Yeah, they do some lobbying, but they never asked me what I’d like them to lobby for so thanks, but no thanks.

Marketers had better learn quickly that most people in their 50s and 60s these days are healthy, fit, sharp, savvy and planning to be around for another 30-40 years. We don’t need senior discounts, we don’t appreciate condescension, and we don’t want AARP telling us what to think.

IMHO we don’t deserve any more deference than any other customer, but we should be approached differently than someone in their 20s or 30s. That’s why I coach CEOs and executives to consider the strategic benefits of age-differentiated marketing plans.

If customer focus is important (it is), then we have to be willing to tailor our message for different customers and deliver it using appropriate media. And this is as true for industrial products as it is for blue jeans or micro-brew beer.

Ken Dychtwald\'s \"Age Power\"Ken Dychtwald has been writing about the boomer “age wave” for about 20 years. My friend Frumi Rachel Barr has written a concise review/summary of his book “Age Power.” If you have to market to boomers — whether you’re one of us or not — I suggest that you read her review then buy his book.

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Entry filed under: advertising, CEO coach, customer focus, key executive coach, management, marketing, marketing coach, strategic planning. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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