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Baby Boomers To Redefine Marketing Once Again

Baby Boomers make up 44 percent of the U.S. population and control 70 percent of disposable income, yet just 5 percent of all advertising is targeted toward this age group.

Sound familiar? It will if you've been reading PYMNTS.com. Earlier this year, our Karen Webster published an article debunking the myth that Millennials will boost consumer spending, and illustrated that the demographic, while technically the future of the economy, still faces obstacles such as student debt and unemployment that will continue to limit its resources.

Fast Company builds on past research in its latest article that aims to convince merchants and their marketing teams that they should "stop chasing youth and start courting Boomers." Touching on intangible factors, Fast Company makes the argument that Baby Boomers are a truly distinct generation, and one that will likely hold to its values as it ages.

"Lifestyle marketing to successive generations has only become more sophisticated. But while chasing today’s youth, brands too often forget that Baby Boomers still have a lifestyle," Fast Company's Lor Gold wrote. "In fact, they’re the same people today as when they were teenagers, only older."

So, how should merchants and marketing teams be targeting Baby Boomers? We break down Fast Company's report in this PYMNTS.com Data Point.

Older Boomers Won't Spend Like Their Grandparents

Above all, Fast Company stressed that marketers shouldn't expect aging Boomers to spend like older generations. Citing research from MarketingCharts, the media outlet noted that boomers account for 40 percent of all wireless services spending.

Likewise, Pew Research Center indicated in an August report that 60 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds now use social media .

The study illustrates Fast Company's claim that even though boomers are now grandparents, they "don't want to just be the weathered old people sitting on the front porch." Since the Boomers came of age in the 1960s, the article notes, they will likely continue to be attracted to the adventurous ideals that shaped their youth.

Baby Boomers Will Redefine Senior Marketing

Fast Company noted that marketers need to move beyond the stereotypes to learn what Baby Boomers really "think, want and need." This means realizing that the generation that changed marketing as kids will do so once again as they age, setting a new template for senior marketing.

"Every generation, from the Baby Boomers on down, began as 'generation Youth,'" Fast Company wrote. "And they'll cling to that identity [rightly!] even as they follow the path boomers have been on for decades."

Marketing Effectively To Boomers

Still, while Baby Boomers are increasingly active online, Pew Research showed that they haven't yet gravitated to certain areas of the Internet. For example, just 13 percent of Internet users between the ages of 50- and 64-years-old now use Twitter.

This suggests that marketers should keep in mind that though Baby Boomers want to be perceived as youthful consumers, they aren't yet gravitating to new online advertising channels.

For more insights into how baby boomers are driving online spending, click here.

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