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Dec 21, 2021

Seventy million baby boomers are still out there and will be around for another two or three decades, and happily, in this third act of life. Thought leader and American cultural historian Larry Samuel invites us to rethink our mindset about ageism and how we must work on ways to serve older 50s to mid-70s as they enter a new era in their lives, needing to be heard and supported.

Key points covered in this episode: 

✔️ Most marketers are ignoring older customers. It's like the Wild West when it comes to aging, where everybody's doing it differently. Larry enumerates his recommendations to effectively communicate with this generation based on the ten values.

✔️ Value 1: Youthfulness. Boomers are considered to be a permanently youthful generation. This has significant implications for marketers who speak to them as old when they are young inside (well, in fact, it's just their bodies that get older.) Larry points out, "Approaching that target market through a lens of youthfulness can be a very compelling proposition, rather than the typical way we are treated of being old and in physical or cognitive decline. That's not a good way to approach us."

✔️ Value 2: Knowledge. BOOMERS were the most educated generation until millennials came along. Research shows that we generate new brain cells until we're dead, basically. Hence, the older generation is perfectly capable of learning new things, and that's an essential value for boomers -- whether it is taking classes at a community college, traveling, learning about a different culture or a new language, or taking music lessons.

✔️ Value 3: Reinvention. Studies have shown that regardless of age, people are extremely resilient, adaptable and can reinvent themselves. Whether through work, romance or spirituality, we are constantly reshaping and morphing into different people, so I think that's an important one for marketers who mistakenly believe that we're not going to change. 

✔️ Value 4: Creativity. It's in our DNA. That was an idea embedded in us early in the 50s and 60s when we were growing up. Research shows that creativity is good for physical and mental health. It'll keep you alive longer, literally, if you're expressing your individual creativity in some way. 

✔️ Value 5: Bucket List. Boomers already have the time and money to explore different avenues in pursuit. "I recommend to marketers to be an enabler of that. How can you present or develop a new product or service as a way for a baby boomer to cross something off their list and achieve a lifetime experience that they always wanted to do?"

✔️ Value 6: Self Actualization. We all remember Maslow's theory is the hierarchy; there is a lot of truth to it; you often go up through these stages for most of us. Accepting that you're a wiser person and that you should leverage that in some way and through this emotional contentment and satisfaction that also comes along and enables you to evolve as a human being.  

✔️ Value 7: Community. Boomers were once the largest community globally and are now outnumbered by millennials; there were 70 million in the 50s up still alive. 

✔️ Value 8: Activism. Idealism is embedded in the older generation and passed on to a great degree. They form a very powerful political bloc, a constituency that people in public and private spheres can reach out to. It would be wise for marketers to sort of tap into this innate activist spirit that boomers have.

✔️ Value 9: Purpose. They are doing things like volunteering, mentoring, coaching or teaching. These are a few of what they haven't gotten around to doing much as a younger person.

✔️ Value 10: Legacy. Boomers are thinking about their mortality for the first time. The idea that we will live longer than our physical selves is a very powerful one. So you're seeing a lot of philanthropy, charity, a lot of donating time and money in different ways.

Lawrence R. Samuel is the founder of AmeriCulture, a Miami- and New York City-based consultancy dedicated to thought leadership relating to the past, present, and future of American culture. As a trailblazer in translating cultural insights and emerging trends into business opportunities for Fortune 1000 companies and their agencies, Larry is widely recognized as an expert in the economic, social, and political dynamics of consumer behavior.  

Larry is the author of many books, including Age Friendly: Ending Ageism in America, Aging in America: A Cultural History, and Boomers 3.0: Marketing to Baby Boomers in Their Third Act of Life. He also writes the “Psychology Yesterday,” “Boomers 3.0,” and “Future Trends” blogs for and is widely quoted in the media. Larry holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, an MBA in Marketing from the University of Georgia, and was named a 2017 NextAvenue Influencer in Aging.

Find Larry on Twitter @LarrySamuel and LinkedIn:     


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, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question. 

About Melissa Batchelor, Ph.D., RN, FNP-BC, 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 Ph.D. 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 and 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