|July 20, 2010|
|Marketers Ignore Geezers at Their Own Peril|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Measurement giant Nielsen is trying to pitch the buying clout of "Baby Boomers" to marketers who are fixated upon targeting twenty-somethings because they haven’t yet developed a strong brand loyalty to a toothpaste, deodorant or coffee, according to Advertising Age. |
An overlooked point: high unemployment among young America. It's hard to develop brand loyalty when one doesn't have cash.
Bias against the AARP crowd is a long-accepted practice in the marketing communications world. Nielsen, however, believes marketers that ignore the over 50 crowd do so at their own peril. The "Generation Y" and "Millenials" segments lack the number of bodies and income levels of the older Boomers.
As the U.S. economy continues its transformation, there is no guarantee that younger people will eventually exceed or even match the income levels of their older siblings or parents. It's time for a re-think.
Consumer products/services companies that write off Boomers risk a backlash. Many Boomers are not only footing the bills for young people today who are cavorting in the social media sandbox, but they are active participants in the new media age.
For instance, the over 65 crowd is the fastest growing segment of Facebook, presenting a new challenge to that social medium: death notices. The New York Times reported that senior users are getting freaked out by prompts to connect with friends who have died.
In an understatement, Meredith Chin, Facebook spokesperson, told the Times that "seeing deceased friends pop up can be painful." Facebook is considering using software to scan for phrases such as "Rest in Peace" or "I Miss You." It will then have a human investigate the account to see if the holder still has a pulse. Death inspectors are bound to be a growth opportunity across the social media space.
Boeing is among companies that values the worth of seniors. The Wall Street Journal () reports that the aircraft maker is tapping “engineering icons from its past” to help get its sales effort back on track.
A lesson learned by Boeing management: seniors tell it like it is. Marketing communications people could learn a lot from older Americans who will reach the age of 65 and 75 in record numbers over the next decade. Pitch them. It's a business opportunity of a lifetime.
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