17th Jan 2014

Why marketers get it wrong

Why marketers get it wrong
Image credit: Shutterstock
Debbie McTaggart

There’s one reason that companies often miss the mark when marketing to baby boomers and it’s simply that one size doesn’t fit all.

Marketers are obsessed by labels; be it Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers or DINKIES, being able to group a demographic makes life much simpler. And while this works in for most collectives, baby boomers buck the trend of labels. 

Spanning an age group of those 49 to 68, it is recognised that this is the fastest growing consumer segment in Australia, with an estimated discretionary spending power of $218 billion. Yet the needs of this demographic and how they spend their money varies vastly. For every one of those boomers who is nearing Age Pension age and retirement, there’s one who is juggling mortgage payments and trying to get teenage children through school. Rich self-funded retirees are not the norm in this demographic and not every boomer owns their own home and has a stash of cash under the mattress – those aged 39 to 55 make up the highest percentage of renters in Australia. Around 65 per cent of older Australians rely on a Government pension or allowance as their main source of income, hardly an affluent demographic.

Catching the attention and dollar of the boomer isn’t rocket science; it’s time to put away the infographics and statistics and treat them as they would any other consumer. Boomers are online; they’re transacting and interacting in the digital world just the same as Gen X and Gen Y, but perhaps with a little more consideration. They’re watching television, reading magazines and listening to radio. They buy new cars, travel, renovate their homes, eat out, exercise and do all the things that others do. And here’s the rub, they see themselves just the same as everyone else – trying to manage a budget and get the best deal.

Perhaps if ad agencies and marketers were to employ boomers, they would have a better understanding of how this generation ticks.


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