19 Oct 2017

Boomers Waving Money: We’re Still Here!

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A recent New York Times article observed how advertisers are fawning over Millennials. Just about every brand seems to have a ‘Millennial strategy.’ And despite how elusive this segment is in regard to their constantly changing media habits and short attention spans, marketers are spending aggressively to court Millennials. With varying, and sometimes wildly frustrating, results.

Meanwhile, the all-but-forgotten Baby Boomer generation is quite literally laughing all the way to the bank. Now empty-nesters with both money and time on their hands, their spending power is exponentially higher than their cash-starved and expense-challenged ‘kids,’ many of whom can’t yet afford to pay the rent, much less open their virtual wallets.

According to a 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey, Boomers outspend Millennials in just about every consumer category, from clothing to groceries to entertainment. Yet somehow Millennials seem to get the lion’s share of media budgets.

Many marketers argue that it’s important to win the brand loyalty of Millennials early to maximize the lifetime value of a loyal customer. But it’s hard to win loyalty when the customer can’t afford to buy what you’re offering, or is cutting back spending, rather than increasing purchases. Like Boomers.

Brand guru Larry Light rightly points out in the NYT article that it shouldn’t be question of either/or when it comes to choosing a target segment. But ignoring Boomers, or steering an inordinate amount of budget towards Millennials at the expense of Boomers, may stifle your brand’s growth.