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Why Pay Attention to Baby Boomers? Half of Adults Age 65 or Older Are Online

by Steve Olenski  |  
August 21, 2012

This article is a not-so-subtle reminder to all marketers and advertisers that Baby Boomers have begun to creep into a new demographic, the same demographic that often correlates to a drop in attention and action from marketers and advertisers.

You do remember the Baby Boomers, Mr. Marketer and Ms. Advertiser?

Baby Boomers are people born between (and including) 1946 and 1964. Baby Boomers also are folks who...

  • Have more discretionary income (wealth) than any other age group.

  • Control 70% of the total net worth of American households ($7 trillion of wealth).

  • Own 80% of all money in savings and loan associations.

  • Spend more money disproportionately to their numbers.

  • Are not fanatically loyal to brands.

  • Watch television more than any other age group.

  • Account for a dramatic 40% of total consumer demand.

The demographic I am referring to is 65+, the same demo the first of the Baby Boomers began to move into last year.

Admit, marketers and advertisers... you're not really interested in someone 65+, right? Unless, of course, your product, service or ware is designed specifically for those in this age demo.

In general, when someone turns 65 years old, he is moved up (or is it down?) the marketing and advertising food chain.

So, automatically moving someone into a new demographic---thus altering or lessening the attention you pay to them---is not a good idea when it comes to Baby Boomers.

Another reason to not lose sight of Baby Boomers turning 65 and ALL consumers 65+ is: For the first time, half of adults age 65 and older are online.

That was the headline from a recent article from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

And here's the opening paragraph:
"As of April 2012, 53% of American adults ages 65 and older use the Internet or email. Though these adults are still less likely than all other age groups to use the Internet, the latest data represent the first time that half of seniors are going online. After several years of very little growth among this group, these gains are significant."

Additional key points from the article are...

The reason I referenced the Pew Internet article and corresponding stats is because  I wanted to juxtapose that with the fact that the first baby boomer turned 65 last year, which means not only does the age 65 take on a whole new meaning and value, but the senior demographic in general is changing and marketers and advertisers better be paying attention.

If you're a marketer or advertiser and there are folks in your database right now who are age 65 or even 66, do you really want to "lump them in" with the rest of the demo over 65?

And do you really want to keep keeping on with your marketing and advertising strategies for the entire 65+ demo---knowing what you now know?

Like anything else in the world of marketing and advertising, you have to know who your target demo is in the first place, yes? That's a given.

But if your target demo includes 65+ you may want to...

  • Look at Baby Boomers differently from now on as more and boomers head for their late 60s.

  • Revisit your entire strategy as clearly the 65+ demo has changed, is changing, and will continue to change.

And you better change with it.

Sources: Baby Boomer MagazinePew Internet & American Life Project

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a freelance copywriter/blogger looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has more than 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,TwitterLinkedIn, or his website.

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Senior Man Working)

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Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions.

He has worked on everything from a Super Bowl TV spot to a Mom and Pop radio spot---and all points in between. He doesn't drink. He doesn't smoke. He doesn't use foul lang... well, he doesn't drink or smoke.

He is a naturally curious and opinionated person who's had to fight his way (sometimes literally) for everything he's achieved professionally. And if it were not for his rock (AKA his wife), he would not be here today. He would still be stocking shelves, not that there's anything wrong with that... 

Follow @steveolenski on Twitter

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  • by Teresa Craft Tue Aug 21, 2012 via blog

    How true this is. I will say that at a recent blogging conference there were brands that acted totally uninterested in the boomer bloggers. What a mistake they are making. We have the ability to help them market and the disposable income to spend on their products. The event I enjoyed the most at this conference was actually a private event for blogger boomers,sponsored by smaller companies with really innovative products.Those companies will be remembered and promoted and utilized when they're needed

  • by Dianne Tue Aug 21, 2012 via blog

    "Right On" Steve :) Could you be anymore subtle? if you diss this group, you will be sorry. There are all kinds of products and services to market to these folks...hmm can you say grandchildren.... Great article Steve..Thanks.

  • by Stephanie Sammons Sat Aug 25, 2012 via blog

    Steve thanks so much for sharing these stats. We work really hard to teach financial advisors how important it is to realize that their clients are online. This is going to be a great resource to point to!


  • by Whybealone Sun Aug 26, 2012 via blog

    You are so right Steve....we need to take a closer look at 65+ demographic. Thanks for share this excellent article with us.

  • by Terri L Maurer Mon Aug 27, 2012 via blog

    Completely agree with your perspective, Steve. What I find most disturbing about Boomers vs. Millenials (Gen Y) in marketing and advertising, is that so many organizations are turning their entire focus to the younger generation while turning their backs on Boomers, who have been their loyal customers for years, and have that discretionary income that Millenials have not yet achieved. Very short-sighted, I'd say.

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