In a recent conversation with a top media executive, I asked why is it that marketers have a blind spot when it comes to targeting consumers 50+? His answer was as out of date as a three-network broadcasting world (!). It was the same old tired story about brand loyalty and income and life engagement.
It was a sad response that was even more compounded after I told him that 34% of the American population is over 50 and every day 10,000 people turn 65. By 2030, one in 5 Americans will be 65, and they are revolutionizing what it means to live longer. Think fit and healthy, adventurous, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, like the picture above of my 55+-year-old friends and me skiing the slopes of New Mexico embracing that 55 is the new 55!
Not to mention that there is $15 trillion in spending power in the 50+ age group, nearly double that of 2010. Baby boomers will spend and transfer over $60 trillion in assets over the next 20 years. They’ve got the money to buy whatever they damn well, please. And who is swapping out of brands from European imports to Teslas, snapping up the newest technology, taking luxury trips, and totally ignoring the old concept of brand loyalty being established as a lifelong pattern? Ummmm… it’s the 50+ market.
“Yes, I know, but our clients are youth-obsessed and we have to listen to them,” he said.
My response: That’s the wrong answer! If media executives who buy media along with marketers aren’t leading the charge on this front then we are all screwed. For an industry that prides itself on being the cool group who are on all the trends and the newest next thing, they are all missing the boat… actually, the ocean liner.
We live in a time when people do not want to accept the facts that are right in front of them, but the tsunami of this change is a reality that will hit them broadside.
For the media and creative agencies and marketers and brand leaders out there, get some guts and not only present the facts but have a complete rethink of words and images in how you portray the 50+ market. Hey, ANA and 4A’s and Ad Council… jump in on this one too.
I’m tired of seeing passive gray-haired people sipping tea, playing with puppies and kids, walking down a beach into the sunset (of their lives). I’m tired of words like elder and anti-aging and retirement years.
And here are some more facts for you. In 2019, there were 90,000 centenarians in the U.S. In 2060, the number is projected to be 589,000 and by 2100, there will be over 5 million centenarians. The 100-year life is becoming more and more of a reality.
If you think that at 50 or 60 or even 70, it is time to wind down, the new reality is that you have a lot more life ahead of you and all of the institutions around you need to get hip to this too.
The vision of a 50+ future that you are being handed by marketers and corporations and the government is crumbling.
There is a whole new set of life cycles being created and the current ageist thinking will be crushed by the millions of people who are redefining what it means to live longer in dynamic and exciting new ways.
For my media friend, stop the obsession with what the 18-year-olds are doing and pay attention to what the 50+-year-olds are doing. And when you do, maybe you’ll even get a promotion as a bold thinker who not only presented the facts but created a new way to engage with this group.
Hear us ROAR.
- Seasoned employees have a lot to contribute. It is time to call out your company if age is not a part of their DEI policy.
- Call out brands that show outdated images of people 50+. We need to all raise their consciousness.
- Be the role model of the new 50+ person. Reject the script you were handed about what your future looks like and write a new one.
In ROAR into the Second Half of Your Life – Before It’s Too Late, longtime publishing executive and author Michael Clinton offers those considering midlife transformation a proven process to achieve a passionate and fulfilling life. With expert insights and actionable techniques, the book offers an empowering path for reimaging and embracing your future through a dynamic process called ROAR:
- R: Reimagine yourself
- O: Own who you are
- A: Act on what’s next
- R: Reassess your relationships
Michael shows readers how to ROAR into their future. Demonstrated through his own example, along with tips, resources, and true stories from over forty people who didn’t let their age or other setbacks stop them, readers will aspire to pursue their goals and get back to a life well-lived. Prescriptive and inspiring. ROAR will motivate, entertain, and transform readers.