Bloomberg: Boomer Marketers are Missing Out on Trillion-Dollar Potential

The aging population is a major marketing target for companies from consumer goods providers to financial services and consultants. But baby boomers are often misunderstood, presenting a greater challenge for those selling to them, writes Bloomberg News.

With money to spend, and a whole host of products and services specifically geared toward the baby boomer demographic, marketers are largely missing how to effectively sell to the population.

“This consumer segment is one of the more difficult ones to open up in terms of needs and wants,” Matthew Doyle, 57, a 30-year employee of Proctor & Gamble and now vice president of innovation lab the Live Well Collaborative told Bloomberg. “No one was designing products just for them.”

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From lumping all senior buyers into a single category to offering products that are overtly made for aging, marketers are making several mistakes, sources told the publication. Instead, they should be looking to “universal design,” and acknowledging baby boomers as a dynamic population that changes in taste and behavior over time—like other target demographics.

“A big risk here is we jump from one stereotype to another — from the incapacitated people sitting in care homes to a picture of impossibly happy boomers on bikes,” Halima Khan, director of the Innovation Lab at UK-based charity Nesta, told Bloomberg. “Neither of those does justice to the reality of older people’s lives.”

Read the Bloomberg News story.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • As more Boomers become seniors (however you define that specific age), there will be a tendency to ignore older generations. This article has troubling relevance to our industry as well. Could part of our problem today be that we have put so much emphasis on the younger seniors that we have in some way forgotten about older seniors?

    Our marketing emphasizes younger seniors when reaching out to the financial planning community yet it is relevant to older seniors as well. Yet the needs are greater with older seniors and the amount available for solutions for younger seniors is less. So how do we reach both?

    (Some say middle age is reached when you are no longer asked for your ID to show you are 21. Some say that you know your are a senior when attempting to enter into that same place later in life, your ID is no longer asked for but instead all you are asked is: “At your age what are you even doing here?” Ah, yes, that is when you really KNOW that you are seen for what you are, a senior.)

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