Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't call me "senior," you little geek.

Marketers who use the wrong terminology or approach with people over age 40 risk alienating the very demographic group that has disposable income to spend on their products. The term "Boomer" is okay, for the huge group of us born between 1946 and 1964. It simply means we are part of the "pig in the python" post-WWII baby boom. But not "senior" or "mature." However, for people born before 1945, those terms are acceptable.

For those who are advertising to Boomers and other "experienced" adults, here are some "Marketing Insights" from Su Bacon, recently published in the KC Star:
• Boomers (Born 1946-1964):

• Tend to visit Web sites
• May be looking on the Internet not only for products and services for themselves but also for their aging parents
• Value youth and independence
• Prefer choices in products and services
• May make shopping a destination trip
• Recognize and resent "mature," "prime" and other age references

Notes for marketers: Emphasize wellness, health and active lifestyles. Resist references to age such as "senior" or "older" adults -- "boomer" is OK. Consider a broader geographic reach.

The Silent Generation (Born 1945 or earlier):

• Tend to prefer a more traditional, personal approach
• Value trust and structure
• May be concerned about transportation issues
• Tend to shop where they live

Notes for marketers: Establish relationships and credibility with those they trust such as bank officers, financial planners, their children and grandchildren. Emphasize the vital role they plan in their communities and families. The "senior" label is OK, especially when accompanied by the word "discount." References to retirement are acceptable, too. Reach them with direct mail.

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