How to Sell to Boomer Women

Posted on June 8, 2012


According to eMarketer, “Boomers spend more time and money online than any other demographic. It is estimated that 78.2% of this cohort, or nearly 60 million adults, is online. Even as their numbers decline, that penetration rate (their words, not the words of this writer) will remain high through 2015. And they control more than $2 trillion in annual spending.”

Several interesting questions arise from the above, primarily: Are Boomers actually being paid by employers to spend all of their time online? This writer has done extensive research into this matter, all of it consisting of asking a friend who is also a Boomer, what she does all day at work.  The answer was “I go online and buy stuff.”

That explained, it’s time to move on to a peskier question: If Boomers are all online all the time, and if they have so much money, why aren’t marketers targeting Boomers in their advertising?

“The baby boomers grew up being chased by marketers and advertisers that tailored products and brands to appeal to them,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst “Now the median age of this cohort is 55, and many boomers feel as if they have dropped off many marketers’ radar.”

Aside from a second use of the word “cohort,” making Boomers seem a bit unsavory, this is a question worth asking. By any standard, by any notion of happiness, Boomer women say that the years after 50 are the most fulfilling.  From a survey done by PrimeTime Women, the Boomer woman is happier and more optimistic than any other demographic. She is more independent in her thinking and less susceptible to a herd mentality.

“In most instances, using conventional celebrity advertising to reach PrimeTime Women won’t work. Consumers in PrimeTime have less of a need to aspire up and impress others and are no longer as driven by materialistic values such as fame and fortune. That is not to say that all celebrity usage is ineffective, but there is a different dynamic. Instead, they are drawn to people they already do like those who are approachable.”

So, if Boomers have the money, and the inclination to buy, how can we help those who market to us do a better job at it? Here are some revolutionary thoughts from this writer:

1. Don’t show us 20 or 30-something models who have successfully treated their wrinkles with your product. Instead, show us women our age who believe their skin feels softer or cleaner after using it.

2. Don’t tell us we will look or feel younger by using a product. Tell us that we will be treating our skin/hair in the healthiest and purest way possible.

3. Eliminate excessive packaging.  Take everything (cosmetics or household products) down to its simplest, most basic level of packaging.

4. Unless a product will kill people, don’t make it impossible to open without a crowbar.

 5. Stop making mother-of-the-bride dresses. Immediately.

6. Know that women whose bodies are not “perfect” do not look better wearing boxy, shapeless clothing. Sell us clothing that is fitted (not tight) so that our shapes (which we are proud of) can be seen.

7. Stop showing older women wearing stiletto heels.  There are a lot of cute, sexy, comfortable shoes out there that women of any age would love.  We don’t want shoes that can do double-duty on the stage at strip clubs.

8. Be aware that many Boomer women have breasts made of real breast tissue and fat. Natural breast tissue sags over time. If you want to sell bras to us, give us support.  If you want to sell swimsuits to us, provide us with more than a strip of fabric on top.

9. A lot of Boomer women prefer to cover their upper arms.  Can we please have tee shirts with sleeves that are a tiny bit longer?

10. This space is reserved for all the items this writer hasn’t thought of, but other Boomer women have.