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10 Ways Marketers Should Grow Up in 2008

Woodbridge, VA– [December 27, 2007]Could 2008 be the year mature marketing grows up?  With an estimated 112 million American consumers over 45, why don't more companies effectively market to Baby Boomers and beyond?  Todd Harff, president of 40+ marketing agency Creating Results (www.creatingresults.com), offers these 2008 Resolutions for those looking to sell to baby boomers and beyond.

1. Focus.  Resolve that in 2008, your marketing will stop trying to be all things to all people.  Try instead to say the right things to the right people. 

Leave the tweens behind.  Don’t worry if your ad won’t go viral on YouTube.  Baby Boomers are roughly 80 million strong, spending nearly $3 trillion each year.  13% of Americans are part of the Silent Generation or are older.  Americans 50 and older controlled 67% of the country’s wealth in 2001, or $28 trillion.  The opportunity is enormous.

2. Know who you’re talking to.  A 50-year old male can be a first-time parent or a second-time grandparent.  He could be the “senior” staffer or just starting out as an entrepreneur.  On this year’s campaign trail, 46-year-old Barack Obama has children aged 9 and 6.  65-year-old Fred Thompson travels with his 3 ½ year old and 7-month old. 

In 2008, take time to understand how life stages are much more important than physical ages.

3. Resolve to trust.  In the 1960s, many Baby Boomers followed the mantra “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”  In 2008, marketers should trust those over 50. 

Don’t dumb advertising down or patronize.  This is the most highly-educated group of Americans in history.  They can be trusted.

4. Walk the walk.  This year, make your marketing real.  Don’t expect that by adding the word “Woodstock” to an ad you can connect with the mature consumer.  Be authentic.  Marketing should address real needs with real answers.

5. Show a little respect.  Enough with photos showing an 80-something woman in a flowered bathing cap and polka-dotted sunglasses.  (Unless you’re selling bathing caps and sunglasses …)

6. Learn that it’s about the experience.  Newsman Walter Cronkite (a reference for your Silent Generation buyers) ended his reports by saying “And that’s the way it is.”  40+ consumers are more interested in experiences than possessions.  Show them the way it is (or will be), make it experiential, and you’ll earn the sale.

7. Say “please” and “thank you.”  Your customers will hear the personal touch and reward you with their loyalty.

8. Resolve to reflect diversity.  National Institute on Aging projections tell us that that in 2003, our 65+ population was 83% white.  However, by 2030, our older population will be more diverse.  11% will be Hispanic, 10% will be black and 5% will be Asian. 

And, with Boomers, diversity is far more than skin deep.  The economics and experiences of this enormous group, spanning 18 years, have varied widely.  Reflect this increasing diversity in your marketing.

9. Give “Power to the People.” Embrace social media and user generated content … the 40+ consumer already has.

10. Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out. Tim Leary’s famous saying could be a checklist for effective mature marketing. 

Does it “turn on” and engage your target? 

Is it based on research and true understanding of the target?  (Adding a photo of a white-haired model doesn’t mean you’ve tuned in to Baby Boomers.) 

In 2007, too much advertising communicated the mindset that Boomers and their elders are old, stuck in their ways or just plain cranky.  In 2008, resolve to drop out of the past and let your marketing grow up.

Todd Harff is a respected speaker, author and strategist focused on marketing to Baby Boomers and beyond.  As president of Creating Results (www.creatingresults.com), he leads a team skilled in creating comprehensive marketing programs that motivate the 40+ affluent consumer.  Todd is a co-founder of a new, global organization dedicated to this segment, the International Mature Marketing Network.  To see these resolutions in pictures, please visit www.creatingresults.com/BoomerRes08.

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