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Victim Marketing To Baby Boomers

New $100 Bill

New $100 Bill

Getting old is not a crime.

No one goes to court on their sixtieth birthday for sentencing. If they did, and I was the judge, I’d sentence all 79 million boomers to join and read boomerpdx the rest of their lives.

Of course there’d be an appeals process and because I’m lenient I’d reduce some sentences to joining and reading Fairness is important.

Some boomers would accept their sentence. Others would walk away. You have that option in boomer country.

It’s the same option you have when you read or watch ads targeted for boomers. Either buy what’s being hawked, or walk away.

Why do so many find it so hard to walk away?

Boomer hippies weren’t the first cool generation. Beatniks beat them for that honor.

Their shtick was coffee house poetry readings, chanting “cool man” and snapping their fingers when they heard Howl in 1955,

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving  hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the  starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the  supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of  cities contemplating jazz.”

No wonder Bob Dylan took an acoustic guitar with him, and less wonder that he switched to electric for a bigger audience.

Marketers haven’t forgotten.

On one hand we need to cherish everything handmade and small, like a craft brew pint of beer for $10, instead of the PBR pounder. What is more hep to the cats, a cabinet from IKEA, or a treasure from the back of a Sellwood antique boutique?

Boomers face these challenges every time they whip out their wallet. Make the wrong choice and your cool-quotient drops faster than Jim Morrison’s trousers.

Apparently the secret is out: Boomers have a load of money to spend on stupid stuff. All you have to do is find the key. Luxury is a big ticket for our aging brothers and sisters. Luxury cars, luxury travel, luxury homes.

Do you remember when your pal bought her husband a new Mercedes and couldn’t resist showing the custom tool chest in the trunk? They weren’t mechanics before they bought, and they’re still not, but they’ve got the tools just in case.

Remember when your neighbors bought a new entertainment chest from the luxury furniture store? The delivery guys brought it in with their field rep behind them. Once it was set up the field rep brought out a bag of dust and sprinkled it around for instant authenticity.

Maybe you’ve seen the Pottery Barn catalogue that lets you change out your entire house for new stuff that looks old? For that you’ll need your own dust.

How can you learn the tricks of baby boomer marketing? Here’s what says after a search on baby boomer marketing strategy:

“Today there are many ad agencies that have recognized the financial opportunity of positioning themselves as “mature market specialists.” They can spout all the facts and figures about the “age wave,” “boomer segmentation,” and the billions of dollars in discretionary spending. Spend fifteen minutes searching the Internet and you can learn the basics for yourself.”

On the same search from the U.S. Small Business Administration:

“My parents are baby boomers. They grew up in the 60s, were entrepreneurs and
self-employed for 45 years. Now retired, they are enjoying the fruits of their
labors’ dining out, going to the gym, travelling the world (seniors account for
account for 80% of all luxury travel), upgrading their home, embracing
technology (I bought my mother a new laptop for her 65th birthday),
and so on.”

It gets more specific when you add Portland, Oregon to baby boomer marketing strategy. A headline from

“BOOM: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer—The Baby Boomer Woman.”

The Portland Business Journal discusses another ploy:

“Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, said many businesses don’t even have a viable strategy for targeting the nation’s 77 million baby boomers. That population dominates 1,023 of 1,083 packaged good categories sold in the country.

Yet, as Milner points out, most marketing dollars target consumers who are younger than 35.”

Please tell marketers we don’t need another pet rock, earth shoe, or Gremlin. If the height/weight ratio lists so many boomers as obese, then an adjusted measure would probably categorize us as hoarders, or boarder line hoarders. How many units of mini-storage can we fill? All of them.

The old saying held that he who died with the most toys wins. After you’ve gone through a few loved ones’ houses, you know who the real winner is: Goodwill.

Marketers are on the job to make their gear indispensable. The good ones know how to create a problem, then sell a solution. And boomers are the target.

Young wild boomers used to talk about The Man, as in “Watch out for The Man,” or “Working for The Man.” Then we all grew up and became a variation of The Man, both men and women.

Now there’s a new The Man in town, and they’re young and smart. Is that enough to pick your pocket?











About David Gillaspie


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