Thursday, February 06, 2014

7 Essential Marketing Insights for Marketing To Baby Boomers

I work in an advertising agency. Sometimes I have to get up at 6am and go to hotels in airports to make sweeping statements about large groups of people I have not met to salesmen from places I will never visit. Today it was BABY BOOMERS.  I am generous, so if you too have to make such a presentation, here is the essential info. (NB: on my slides I carefully noted the following: SourceThe Internet, 2014 - and you should do the same.)

1. What is a Baby Boomer?
It depends what year it is when you read this, but according to the internet, they were probably born between 1946 and 1965.  So they could be my Dad, or they could nearly be my husband.

2. What should I do if I want to design packaging for them?
Consider the hands.  Their hands are going to fall off soon because of arthritis OR holding on too hard to their Harley-Davidson handlebars, so don't use that plastic they put new pairs of scissors in (that you then can't open - because you haven't got any scissors),  or small buttons.   Pre-1974 Sellotape is good, as is Velcro. (Those tapes they put on peas don't make sense to people of any age, so don't use those.)

Consider the eyes. As everyone knows, when you get past 40 your eyes fail and you go from being able to see the "9" on front of the Number 9 bus from a mile away to not being able to read the back of a packet of biscuits (let alone the back of prescription painkillers, which is why you can't remember what happened last Tuesday).   Because of this, you will be able to get all sorts of crap past anyone over the age of 40 -  for e.g. "contains equivalent of 23 spoons of sugar", or "1 portion = 156g saturated fat", or even "Contains formaldehyde".    No-one knows this, but this is why the lard piles on when you get past 39. It is not the fault of your metabolism. It is the fault of your failing eyesight.

3. What is the ideal retail environment for Baby Boomers? 
Somewhere full of expensive, branded stuff they can buy and then take home and enjoy because the kids have finally left home.

4. What should I do if I sell cars? 
Stop being a mental and designing cars for 25 year olds. They haven't got any money. Design cars for older people. They are loaded and have enough time to use the self-parking function while listening to "Sting Live In Montreux" on the 'car stereo'.

5. Are they comfortable with technology?
Steve Jobs was a Baby Boomer FYI. Also Gates. Etc. Baby Boomers are watching cat videos like the rest of us. If they are not doing that, they are reading The Sunday Times on their iPad minis.

6. Do they like music?
Their musical references and taste are approximately 100,000 times better than "Millennial Teens" (whatever the fuck they are).

You will say "One Direction", and they will just look at you and say,  "The Rolling Stones". You will say, "Katy Perry", and they will say, "Joni Mitchell".  "Justin Bieber", says the youth. "Talking Heads", says the Baby Boomer.  This one could go on forever. What is interesting is that Baby Boomers are able to like OLD music and NEW music and hold both in their heads at the same time - while also using the self-parking function and listening to "Sting Live in Montreux".

In conclusion, using either Bob Dylan and/or Petula Clark to sing a tune for your commercial is probably a good idea.

7. What do they worry about? 
a. Their children living at home forever.
b. Retirement funds.
c. Getting tickets for "Sting Live At The Albert Hall"

If you can invent a product that solves any of these problems, you will become rich.

8. What do they look like?
They come in many shapes and sizes. You can choose depending on what you like the look of. Here are some good examples:

No-one needs to see this sort of thing, Baby Boomer or not.

If this is what being a Baby Boomer
is like, I am IN.
If this is what Baby Boomers look
like, I am ALSO in (their pants).

Coming soon: A Marketer's Guide to Millennial Teens (whatever the fuck they are).


Bytowner said...

I was feeling all happy and pleased what with your third post in just a few days, and then I scrolled down and...that image...gads...and I don't mean George C, or those two nice people kissing and drinking!
I thought Coupland defined genxers as starting after 1960? One doesn't mind being lumped with Boomers except that at the tail end they (we) are not loaded. Eyes are going though.
Your marketing brilliance will surely make you rich soon.

Monkeymother said...

Additional points: probably not Petula Clark, and we hate the expressions: "Back in the day" (I blame The Wire for this one's arrival in Europe) and "Long story short". Oh, and we like our invoices paid promptly - your research at Christmas?


Bytowner. Here is my plan. I am going to write marketing text books. They will be made up and rubbish, but then they all are - so I am going to join in and I am going to CRAM IT FULL of infographics, made up statistics, and invented quotes by CEOs of chocolate companies. I think I am X too - I don't know when it was, exactly, but I do know that Gen X are also THE LOST GENERATION. Cheers, Coupland.

Monkeymother. I have sent you a postal order for one English pound, but will be giving you royalties from my marketing textbook sales (see above).


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