Why Marketing to Boomer Women Does Not Mean ‘Think Pink’

To be successful in a marketing or advertising campaign is tricky to begin with and, in recent years, has become even more tricky due to the impact of how companies market differently to men and women.

Women control an estimated 85% of purchasing decisions in this country, yet over 91% of them feel like advertisers don’t understand them, says Jim Gilmartin, principal of Coming of Age, a full-service marketing agency focused on advertising to Baby Boomers and senior customers.

The growing demographic of Baby Boomer women is a huge opportunity for those in advertising, Gilmartin writes in a recent blog post. One could also make the same argument in the world of reverse mortgage marketing, as women represent the largest group of borrowers utilizing Home Equity Conversion Mortgages today.


In Fiscal Year 2015, 39% of HECM borrowers were single females, according to the most recent actuarial report on the Federal Housing Administration’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Single males represented only 22% of total HECM borrowers in FY 2015, while multiple borrowers accounted for 39%.

Gilmartin’s post brings a thought-provoking perspective to the conversation. He discusses the objectification of women in advertising, that has been around for years and how it has reached a critical mass with the launch of the #WomenNotObjects movement.

Not all advertisers go about marketing to women in the correct way though, he explains.

“Marketing to women doesn’t mean think ‘pink’. It means you have to understand who they are and that a 55-year-old woman is not simply a 30-year-older version of her 25-year-old self,” Gilmartin writes.

Women don’t want to do business with a company that condescends them. They don’t want to be on the defensive and ready to argue over the way a company misses the mark on a campaign, Gilmartin explains in the post.

Women are three times more likely than men to recommend brands when they know friends are looking for a particular product or service, the post states. If a marketer can be successful in appealing to women, they will deliver more profits and keep the customer’s loyalty.

“Getting Baby Boomer women to join your brand is not one single step. There is no magic bullet,” Gilmartin writes. “It’s a systematic rethinking of how you present your plan to women, consisting of dozens of subtle shifts and fine alterations.”

Read the full blog at Coming of Age

Written by Alana Stramowski

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  • What Jim Gilmarton stated does make a lot of sense. In fact, I don’t think many of us have really thought along those lines from a marketing standpoint?

    However, is our marketing strategy geared to either men or women or is it primarily geared to seniors 62 years of age or older, period!

    I would like to think we don’t gear ourselves to advertise to any gender, male or female. A senior is a senior, regardless of gender, married, single or widowed, we have the product that will fit them all and we are ready to serve them with dignity!

    John A. Smaldone

    • John,

      Great comment!

      Demographics seem to indicate that if our marketing were neutral and unbiased, we would see a higher percentage of women than men as the youngest borrower with each annual new book of business. At 56.1% women versus 43.9% men seems well in the range of reason. Yet there is room to investigate to determine where our marketing can be improved to attract more women to HECMs

  • Now let us look at the stats more analytically. If 39% of HECMs during fiscal 2015 were multiple borrowers and all but a small number of those were anything other than married couples, we can safely say that about 56.1% of all new borrowers were women during fiscal 2015.

    Those who do not realize that even in 2015, the face of our typical new youngest borrower was a 71 year old female are doomed to under production. When I came into the industry the face of our typical new youngest borrower was a 76 year old female.

    Despite what many of our peers believe, it is easy to picture the percentage of women new borrowers growing as well as the age of the youngest borrowers growing as it did last fiscal year.

    • James,

      While you point to a higher percentage of women being HECM borrowers, it would seem that compared to the general population over 65, the percentages seem to say we should be doing a better job reaching to women.

      It is interesting that until 40 men outnumber women but as mortality sets in, women are a greater share of the population as the population ages. Above 85, the ratio is almost 2 women for each man.

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