Within five years, about a third of the population will be at least 50 years old. That’s thanks in large part to the 76 million Baby Boomers who are leaving their 40s behind for good.
Traditionally, marketers have broadly categorized consumers by their ages. If you’re a certain age, they postulated, then you must be acting a certain way.
That’s a load of crap, and today’s consumers are rebelling against this type of stereotyping. They’ve (we’ve) already adopted slogans like “You’re only as old as you feel.” Instead of falling into neat little categories defined by arbitrary ages, consumers want to feel younger, act younger. We want to be talked to in a way the reflects our interests, and where we are in our lives (Are we married, single, divorced? Taking care of children? Taking care of aging parents? Starting a second family?).
Today, smart marketers are typing their consumers not only by gender, but by lifestage, affluence, health, demographics and values. Age isn’t the only measuring stick any more. Here’s a real life example. I had coffee this morning with a 30-year-old colleague who confided that she felt a little uncomfortable that she and her boss (mid-40ish) both liked the same clothing store. Yeah, I said, that’s cool. You have to look at your boss’s personality and attitude, not just her age. Boomers don’t want to be told they’re aging or treated like they’re irrelevant or out of the loop. And my friend’s boss is definitely in the loop and she’s not afraid to act like it.
So, today’s questions for you: Are you basing assumptions on antiquated expectations? On artificial descriptors or boundaries? What are you doing to speak to your consumers in ways that they can relate with, no matter what their age?