This is What Retirees Look Like: Show Us as We are
By Karen and Erica
Suppose you wanted to sell something to a 25 year old metrosexual? Would you ask a 65 year old woman how to do that? Not unless you’re an idiot. But the obverse may be exactly what is happening when marketing to our cohort.
Everyone seems to understand that Baby Boomers are an economic force to be reckoned with. We have billions to spend. We control perhaps 70% of the country’s disposable income. And we spend it. We may account for 80% of the luxury travel market. We are up to date and savvy. More than half of us regularly use the newest media technology. And there are more and more of us every day. Between now and 2030, the 50+ age group is expected to grow by 34%, while the 18 to 49 segment is expected to grow by only 12%. We Baby Boomers are a dream demographic.
Now let’s get to women. Women between the ages of 55 and 75 are the biggest consumers of luxury, security and convenience items in the country. Women over 50 spend on average 250% of what the population in general spends per year, buying technology-related goods, big ticket items like cars, and financial services.
You would think that people would want to sell goods and services to us. And indeed lots of money is being spent on advertising. In 2017, television and digital advertising spending is expected to total over $149 billion. We don't know how much of that is aimed at us. But whatever it is, it’s not tapping into our egos. Or our wallets.
We can't think when we have seen an advertisement for goods and services that really connected with us, that got our attention in a positive way. Negative, yes. Most ads show us as wobbly, dim, needy, and dowdy. Some appear to think making fun of us will gain traction with, and presumably sell something to, someone. We wonder who that could be. Why do companies think they they will be successful in the Baby Boomer market if they do not portray folks of retirement age as people to be respected? Why don't marketers show us as engaged, intelligent, elegant?
If companies and their marketers don’t understand who we are and how we wish to be seen, they will not connect with us. Why would they not see us as a high priority? In fact, they don’t seem to see us at all. Is it because they are relying on Generation Z to tell them what we want? It's confounding.