It’s so “boomer” of today’s 50+ consumer to think the headline for this blog post is about their personal aging process. So right up front—this isn’t about a fountain of youth, anti-aging secret or Little Blue Pills. This post isn’t even about “boomers” (you always “…think the song is about you, don’t you, don’t you?”). It’s about the ageless 50+ cohort, and all the folks who have gone before.
Of course, 50+ consumers have been around since that earliest biblical guy, Adam. And this cohort has always been desirable—especially to banks and other financial institutions (no “serpent analogies” intended). These marketers have been following the money long before that was a catch-phrase, or there was a PayPal. Turning the Wayback Machine to the 1980’s, the agency I was part of was called in to work with Princeton Bank & Trust. Their target audience? Folks 50+. Why? They had the money. And that segment still does.
Today, consumers over 50 account for almost half the total consumer spending in the United States. Americans aged 50+ are responsible for nearly half of the market share in personal insurance and pensions, transportation, health, housing and food. This report from Deloitte has many interesting facts worth checking out.
The thing is—much of this was also true in 1980, too. Back then, we weren’t using email to reach those consumers, but only because it didn’t exist. We did do a lot of testing and learned effective ways to sell to people moving into a new phase of life. Then as now, they were empty nesters…couples seeing retirement becoming more reality than abstraction…people feeling the inevitable aches and pains that come with years of living behind them.
Today we’re talking “Boomers”—and some things certainly are different. There’s e-media, some changing attitudes and perceptions. But let’s get over ourselves. In many respects, there’s nothing that new about us (today’s desirable 50+ market segment) than those who went before. And while we go about devising social media strategies to reach them, there are many time-proven lessons to remember about selling to this segment which are as timeless as being age 50-plus. Every now and then, I have to remind myself we can’t allow ourselves to be lured so far into “the new” that we forget all the lessons we’ve already learned in our decades selling to those folks who went before.