Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ms. Brooks goes to Washington

Last week I traveled to D.C. to be a guest panelist on a live webcast at the NAB, or National Association of Broadcasters. The topic was “The Golden Years; Marketing to Seniors.” 

I was very excited because a) I had never actually been to Washington b) I can talk about senior marketing to a dog, and c) it was all expenses paid. So off I go to discuss what has inadvertently become second nature to me over the last 24 years – marketing to baby boomers. 

I was joined on the panel by other industry experts; Jim Glynn, Principal, GlynnDevins in Kansas City; Brian Wexler, Director of National Multimedia Accounts, WTSP CBS Tampa, FL; and Brad Seitter, Senior VP, Local Division at NAB. I was excited to see what similarities or differences they saw in marketing to this demographic.  

What I learned, all over again, is how much I enjoy working with this target audience. 

Over dinner with my colleagues I went on and on about senior’s decision making processes, their healthcare concerns, their family values, their buying power... until I was asked, "Why doesn't anyone talk about this market?"
My answer was simple. Because it’s not sexy. 
Advertising folks want sexy. Sexy commercials, sexy websites, sexy ads, sexy young. Sexy. 

But quite frankly, don’t get me started on marketing to our youth. Let’s just say they’re “special.” Try marketing to a group of Youtub-ing, Snapchat-ting, Starbucks-drinking hipsters that decide a new trend every 5 minutes? A market that tends to be fragmented, have no loyalty to brands, and have the attention span of a Vine video?

I think educated, voting, research-driven, brand-loyal, boomers who don’t take shit and know what they want - and mean what they say - is pretty damn sexy. Just look at these numbers:
  • 10,000 Baby boomers will be turning 65 every day – for the next 19 YEARS.
  • Baby Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods & services  
  • The senior age group is now, for the first time, the largest in terms of size and percentage of the population in the U.S.
  • The 55+ age group controls more than three-fourths of America's wealth (ICSC). 

So what did I learn in Washington? I learned that I still love advertising to seniors. And I learned I can still learn more every day from my peers – even at a craft beer dive in Dupont Circle, DC. 

Diana Brooks