An Open Letter to Ad Agencies from the Baby Boomers
March 29, 2012 | By Kim Walker
All marketers wanting to engage with the 50+ crowd should read this. Initially posted here, the letter expresses the sentiments of the older consumer quite well.
Dear Marketing Folks,
We’d like to talk to you about the way that some of your companies are marketing their products to Baby Boomers. First let us say, that we don’t represent everyone in our generation with our letter but we’re sure that many of the people in our age bracket would agree with us.
We believe that The Beatles were on to something when they wrote the song lyrics, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?” Our generation is today’s built-in recession cure. We are one of your target audiences with the highest disposable income in our bank accounts. Most of us outspend the younger crowd, have low balances on our credit cards and will most likely buy anything our grand-kids want.
While we appreciate hearing classic music in the background, its the actual messages you’re using in your ads are what we have issues with. Contrary to what some of you marketers believe, we’re not just getting old and going off to some trailer park community in Florida to die. And what we lack in our ability to try out the new technology first, we make up in the fact that we’re usually the ones who can actually afford to buy all those cool new gadgets, even if we have to get our kids to come over to set them up.
So we’d like to make our case to you about who we are and what you can do to make smarter decisions about how to market to us. First off, we’re not all the same. Just because we were all born between 1946 and 1964, it doesn’t mean that we’re all living the same life in our golden years. Thanks to Ken Dychtwald, president/CEO of Age Waves, for these lifestyle definitions to describe those us of moving into the next phase of our lives:
- The Ageless Explorers (27 percent), who never believe they will be “senior citizens”
- The Comfortably Contents (19 percent), who relax, play, and say they’ll be seniors…soon
- The Live for Todays (22 percent), who aren’t financially prepared for old age, though the mindset may be great psychologically
- The Sick and Tireds (32 percent), who are “living the retirement nightmare”
Secondly, don’t treat us like we’re senior citizens. Most of us don’t even like to hear that term let alone be called one. We’re the first generation to be raised with broadcast TV so that in itself should help you understand our connection to what we see on television. Your marketing messages should take us back to a simpler time. Find a way to remind us of a nostalgic moment in our lives, something to show us that you value our generations’ past experiences over just trying to sell us your products.
Just like social media tells you to do, its about being human first and then comes the technology. There’s a lot to this getting older business. We believe there’s a certain grace to our aging and the sooner you all get on board, the more money your company will make.