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Marketing to Baby Boomers: How Do You Want Companies to Talk to You?

By Margaret Manning June 06, 2016 Managing Money

Why on Earth would you want to tell advertising agencies how to talk to you? Isn’t marketing to baby boomers something that only companies who want to sell something should care about? Absolutely not!

Perhaps I’m biased. After all, I spent most of my career in marketing communications. That said, over the years, I have come to see marketing as a two way street. It works best when the customer is involved in every step of the process, from deciding which products to make to selecting the right words to use in each advertising campaign.

When done right, marketing is a win-win.

Why Should You Care About Marketing to Baby Boomers?

As consumers, we have a vested interest in helping companies to market to us. When we give feedback about the kinds of advertising that appeals to us, we help companies to meet our needs.

In addition, like any other form of media, advertising has the power to break or reinforce stereotypes. When an ad features a stereotypical senior, forgetful and grumpy, society’s biases are strengthened.

So, that said, I’d love to give some advice to all of the marketing professionals out there who are trying in charge of marketing to baby boomers. Then, I’d love to ask you to give some advice too. Please join the discussion at the end of this article.

Be Honest and Use Facts

By the time you reach your 60s or 70s, you have developed a pretty good BS detector. It always drives me crazy when companies use outrageous claims. No, your face cream is not going to make me look 20 years younger. Sorry, but, I just don’t believe you that your dietary supplement is going to improve my memory, help me live longer and make me happier.

We’re all adults here. I’d much rather you be straight forward with your claims and back them up with real testimonials and data. Let’s leave the slang and buzz words on the side and just talk about whatever it is that you want me to buy. I’m more than capable of making a rational decision.

Use Real Boomers in Your Ads

This is a tough one. After all, advertisers want to show their products in the best possible light. This means choosing models that confirm to society’s conception of beauty. As a result, when they do work with older models, they tend to pick people who are skinny and glamourous. Then, they do their best to airbrush the wrinkles away and Photoshop anything that they don’t like.

Personally, I would like to see more advertising agencies having the courage to use real older people in their ads. If your customers love your product, why not feature a few of them in your ads? We’d much rather hear what they have to say than what a model has to say.

Take the Time to Understand Me as a Person

Sorry marketers, not all seniors are the same. I’m always amazed by how many ads appear in my Facebook feed that have absolutely nothing to do with my interests.

Why do people our age see so many irrelevant ads? I can only imagine that some people think that all baby boomers are identical. Yes, we are tied together by a common history. But, we are diverse in our interests and needs.

If I were in advertising, I would never accept a brief from a client who wanted to target “seniors” or “baby boomers.” The age of the target audience might impact the way that the product is presented, but, it certainly wouldn’t be the only factor.

I’d love to get your opinion on this!

What advice would you give to advertisers when it comes to marketing to baby boomers? Do you agree with any of the suggestions that I made? Or, do you think that I am overthinking this whole thing? Please join the conversation!

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I totally agree! I hate when they use young models for older women’s products. Especially when advertising fitness products. They always show young skinny attractive models using the equipment and having bodies that no senior is ever going to look like. I make it a point to never buy any of their products. We might be older but we are not stupid.

The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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