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MelissaBPhD's podcast


Oct 26, 2022

Around 10,000 boomers today are turning 65; by 2029, all boomers will be 65 or older - that milestone’s seven years away. 

Historically, the boomers have always been the largest generation in the US. That changed two years ago when the Millennials became the largest generation.

Marketers need to be aware of this demographic shift because there are now more adults over 40 than children under 18 for the first time in human history - older adults are the New Consumer Majority. 

Also, adults aged 50 and over control 70% of America's household disposable income, spending $0.51 on every dollar. But by 2050, they will be spending $0.61 per dollar. 

In total, this group is projected to spend 84 billion annually just on tech products by 2030, and they are projected to contribute over 26 trillion to the US economy by 2050. 

These statistics speak to the spending power that marketers may not be fully tapping into. Business as usual will need to change - which is a good thing if you want to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace and a shifting media environment.

What do you need to know about this demographic shift? Tune in to This Is Getting Old: Moving Towards An Age-Friendly World to learn more.
Key points covered in this episode: 

✔️ Older Adult’s Spending Power 

Adults aged 50 and over control 70% of America's household disposable income, spending $0.51 on every dollar. But by 2050, they will be spending $0.61 per dollar. 

✔️ Why Ageism Awareness Matters in Marketing

Baby Boomers are leading the way in reinventing the concept of older age - they aren’t accepting what has generally been a negative connotation about aging . Marketers who learn how to translate the new concept of older age have the opportunity to develop actionable advertising, promotion, public relations, and social media strategies that will have profitable results.

✔️ What’s The Problem With Current Marketing Strategies?

The problem is that most current media marketing strategies aren't keeping up with most portrayals of this group. Either their images aren't included, or the messages are not around healthy aging or aging well - which most Americans over 40 are doing. 

✔️ But Wait, There’s More - IMPLICIT BIAS + PERSONAL BELIEFS ABOUT AGING

AGEISM is stereotypes (how we think), prejudices (how we feel), and discrimination (how we act) about aging. This can be institutional, interpersonal, or self-directed.

✔️ What Should We Change? 

All industries need to pay attention to the 40-plus if they want to maximize revenue. However, as a marketing team, your messaging matters. Being aware of ageism will help you develop a marketing campaign for the new consumer majority effectively. 

✔️ How To Make Age-Friendly Marketing Campaigns

-Older Adults Should Not Be Treated As Or Viewed As A Specific Demographic
-Correct Myths And Misconceptions About Older Adults 
-Avoid Marketing That Misses The Bullseye
-Use Titles That Reflect Older Adults’ Life Role
-Make Sure That Your Images Are Intergenerational And Focus On Experiences 
-Invest In - And Market To - The Grandparent Economy
-Understand Generational Buying Criteria
-Design Personalized Consumer Interactions That Are Easy For The Customer
-Prioritize Customer Service
-Use Multi-Channel Marketing
-Use Relatable Language

✔️ What Age-Friendly Marketing Should Be?

👏 Chevrolet’s EV Car Commercial

Chevrolet has a brand new commercial for EV cars. The reason this commercial's ageless is because the images were intergenerational. The experience of sitting in the car is an experience that all generations have and enjoy and expresses the shared value of thought and happiness. The words used in the commercial— “everybody” and “everywhere”- were inclusive.

👏 Marriot’s “Travel Makes Us” Campaign

Another example is Marriot’s “Travel Makes Us” campaign. The commercial taps into the core values such as time with family, happiness and love of travel. The marketing ads include intergenerational images, and the language used is inclusive, age-blind, and value-based.

✔️ Where To Find Help With Developing Effective Age-Friendly Marketing Campaigns?

The best practices for communication are available from the Reframing Aging Project, a national reframing institute established earlier this year. 

You could also check your own implicit bias and that of your team through the Implicit Project Quiz that's available on the Harvard website. 

If you have questions, comments, or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at melissabphd@gmail.com, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question. 

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About Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN:

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing ('96) and Master of Science in Nursing ('00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I genuinely enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home, and office visits), then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer. I obtained my PhD in Nursing and a post-master's Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing ('11). I then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 which led to me joining the George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing faculty in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor. I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health, and Humanities. Please find out more about her work at https://melissabphd.com/.