Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Lusting for Baby Boomers

This week's Advertising Age includes another article about marketers' new-found interest in today's Boomer Consumer. This time, the focus is on new media vehicles.

This coverage is encouraging, but also disappointing.

That's because the young reporter, Abbey Klaassen, a 2002 graduate of Drake University (you can find just about anything using the World Wide Web), exhibits some "ageism" in her article, as well as out-of-date thinking.

An older reporter, perhaps Boomer aged, would have written a very different piece in both content and tone.

For example, Young Abbey (see, we can be ageist, too), says "Media companies have targeted boomers all their lives, but interest in the demo seemed to wane a bit as the majority of them approached their golden years."

A Boomer reporter would not refer to Boomers as approaching their "golden years." That term applies to someone in their mid-70's and older. The median age of today's Boomer Consumer is just now 50. The "golden years" is an outdated concept for anyone under 75.

Young Abbey writes that Web start-ups are targeting Boomers who are 50+, then she adds "And then, of course, there's standbys Parade, Reader's Digest and AARP magazine." [It should probably say "there are standbys" but everyone's an editor these days].

Again, a Boomer reporter would never claim those three publications as "old standbys" for their generation. The Boomer standbys are Rolling Stone, People and TIME. Just because a Boomer reaches age 50 doesn't mean they automatically stop reading what interests them in order to read some age-focused magazine.

The overall tone reads to us like Abbey (and her editors) feel that it is risky for media companies to focus content on the 50+ consumer. Again, that is out-of-date thinking. The bigger risk is ignoring Boomers.

How do you read it?


GoingLikeSixty.com said...

I hope there is a tremendous demand for highly compensated boomer marketing consultants!

Matt Thornhill & John Martin said...

Good gosh, that's our plan. What's yours?

Robert said...

The other day, I attempted to caution about identity theft to an individual waxing rhapsodic about the joys of sharing personal information in a Web 2.0 collaboration.
I was informed "You must be 90!"

They justified their Khumbia behavior as very 'now' where everyone is responsible for their own security.

The gap between a mindset wherein someone feels comfortable uploading intimate details to an Internet site and what I feel is healthy prudence is little different from those who use credit cards cavilerly and the the generation that lived through the depression.

Marketing organizations missing those nuances are blind.

ronsgpop said...

This cute little puppy has no clue.This is like sending Rosie to evaluate the Hallelujah Diet.Other than financial planning & erectile dysfunction issues,we get no attention or respect.With trillions to spend and willingness to try new products and services we deserve serious attention-print,radio,tv,cable .1% of our market is serious coin.Get It,honey?

Dennyradio said...

I produce and cohost a radio talkshow that is targeted to 40 year olds and above. The "media buyers" at ad agencies are usually inexperienced, recent graduates, new to the work force who only understand ratings numbers for 18-25 and sometimes up to 35 year olds. I am glad that some agencies will finally notice this generation, but it seems to me that the buyers should learn more than numbers, and pay attention to what Matt and John are trying to tell them.

Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.