Op-Ed: The Marketing Potential Of Boomers And Un-Money

Op-Ed: The Marketing Potential Of Boomers And Un-Money
Baby Boomers

Founder and CEO of NYC-based marketing agency Renegade Drew Neisser explains how marketers can take cues from two speakers at PSFK's CX Conference who revealed the potential of the underserved baby-boomer demographic as well as offering non-traditional currencies and exchanges

PSFK Op-Eds
  • 9 august 2018

The second in a two-part series delving into insights gleaned from PSFK’s CX Conference this past May, this article highlights speakers David Stewart, founder of media company, AGEIST, and Dr. Devon Powers, associate professor in the Cline College of Media and Communications at Temple University. Stewart and Powers are independently researching two very different demographic and societal evolutions that mark potential trends and opportunities for marketers to capitalize on.

David Stewart says his mission is to reinvent how life is lived, experienced and understood by the financially empowered (yet underserved) demographic of people 50 years old and above. According to David, marketers are completely missing the mark when it comes to addressing this demographic. He says a tremendously lucrative and engaged audience is there for the taking, so to speak, if marketers simply take some time to understand the needs and characteristics of this target audience.

He says that this sophisticated demographic is responsible for 40% of the consumption of goods and services, yet “there’s no effort being made whatsoever, outside of Pharma and fear-based banking ads” to really target this audience. One of the reasons marketers are overlooking this valuable segment of the population is a current “millennial obsession” that assumes you have to be young to understand anything digital. If you believe the ads that attempt to speak to the 50+ crowd, says David, “you’d swear that none of us have any idea of how to use a digital device.”

These stereotypes abound and tend to be reinforced in the media. Think the bungling baby boomer sitcom dad, who’s constantly embarrassing himself and his kids. Or its advertising equivalent—the greying senior with the long list of complicated prescription drug side-effects to be wary of. The 50+ demographic is so much more than this, according to Stewart. And the way to effectively tap into this market and get its buying attention is to pay its members some respect. Don’t “infantilize” them, says Stewart, and don’t assume everyone over 50 is a non-aspirational character with one foot in the grave.

The upside is equally obvious too, says Stewart: “Our research shows that brand loyalty among the 50+ demographic is no different from that of millennials.” And with people living much longer, with generally healthier and more engaged lifestyles, this demographic has at least 30 years of buying potential ahead of it. Move over millennials, the grey-haired set have their eyes on those new digital devices too!

On a completely different note, Dr. Devon Powers of Temple University has her sights trained on a new emerging trend she refers to as “un-money.” This encompasses things like cryptocurrencies, different local currencies and how people are creating new ways of exchanging value.

In her research, Powers has quantified that when people interact, they typically want to give value. “They want to exchange the things that they have but more and more, they want to be compensated for those exchanges too,” says Powers.

For example, marketers are familiar with the concept of professional, paid “influencers” with massive followings and social reach. It’s fairly easy to assign a value for a mention from a publicly known influencer. But what about the smaller-level transactions between genuine consumers and brands, like real-time customer feedback on a Facebook Page or an unsolicited promotional picture uploaded from a consumer to a Twitter account? Currency-like technologies are emerging that can quantify these “micro-transactions” and it may be more common in the future for consumers to expect some form of payment for these activities.

“Maybe that looks like a currency from a brand that solicits your input,” Powers speculates. So, are we going to get to a space where brands have their own literal currency that they use to exchange with their consumers? “That’s entirely possible,” she says.

These discussions really just scratch the surface of the insights David Stewart and Dr. Powers brought to the table at PSFK’s conference. The entire interview with these fascinating presenters can be found below and on the Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast.

“CMO Whisperer” Drew Neisser, is the Founder/CEO of Renegade, the NYC-based marketing agency that helps B2B CMOs cut through their content nightmares. He is a recognized authority on non-traditional marketing techniques, is the author of The CMO’s Periodic Table: A Renegade’s Guide to Marketing and hosts the popular CMO podcast series, Renegade Thinkers Unite.

The second in a two-part series delving into insights gleaned from PSFK’s CX Conference this past May, this article highlights speakers David Stewart, founder of media company, AGEIST, and Dr. Devon Powers, associate professor in the Cline College of Media and Communications at Temple University. Stewart and Powers are independently researching two very different demographic and societal evolutions that mark potential trends and opportunities for marketers to capitalize on.

+AGEIST
+Baby Boomers
+brands
+children
+CX 2018
+David Stewart
+Devon Powers
+Drew Neisser
+loyalty & membership
+Marketing
+op-ed
+retail
+Shopper Marketing & Promotion
+Social Commerce
+Transactions & Payments

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