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Misconceptions Mean Missed Opportunities: The Truth About Baby Boomers

Posted By: SGK November 13, 2013
Misconceptions Mean Missed Opportunities: The Truth About Baby Boomers

According to a Nielsen study, baby boomers control 70% of American’s disposable income, but only 5% of advertising is geared specifically toward this age group. Why is this? Likely, it’s a combination of these misconceptions about the boomer generation that’s keeping brands from recognizing their potential, says our Global Chief Creative Officer, Lor Gold. 

1.    Baby boomers are digital amateurs.  
Far from it, boomers are online and mobile. According to MarketingCharts, this demographic makes up 40 percent of the total spent on wireless services. More than half of them are on Facebook and they spend far more money online than any other age group.

2.    Baby boomers are dependent. 
Boomers are actually very self-reliant. Sometime in the late 1960’s, many young boomers, possibly borrowing from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance,” adopted the motto: “Do your thing.” Echoes of that ethic can be seen in today’s DIY movements – from home pickling to selling craftworks on Etsy to starting new businesses on Kickstarter. 

3.    Baby boomers are disconnected from today’s youth.
Since many boomers are now grandparents, they are very connected with younger generations. According to Brent Green, author of Generation Reinvention, “They don’t want to just be the weathered old people sitting on the front porch passively watching their grandchildren play in the front yard. They want to be there with them.”

4.    Baby boomers don’t like to play.
False. The generation that came of age in the 1960s and 1970s practically invented road trips, fitness running, backpacking in exotic locales, ecotourism, adrenaline sports—basically the whole concept of adventure for its own sake. Now, boomers have more time and money than ever to pursue new experiences.

The fact that boomers collectively possess a lot of wealth is reason enough to learn what they really think, want and need. Brands would do well to ensure that stereotypes and misconceptions aren’t causing them to miss out on the real value this generation has to offer.

Read Lor Gold’s full article, Generation Youth: The Baby Boomers and Everyone Else, in The Agency Post.