Oh Corporate America... Your obsession with youth, youth culture and everything that it entails is legendary. It seems that if you are not 18-34, you are no longer viable, cool or worthy of attention from brands and the internet alike. Now, that doesn't mean the chronologically enhanced aren't getting attention, but really? AARP, Centrum Silver, Ben Gay and Depends can't be the only ones that want to give us the attention we deserve. And yes, I am putting myself in this category, because obviously, I am older than 34 and considered obsolete by most demographic models.
What prompted this blog entry you ask? Well, it all was spurred by my dear friend and mentor, Patricia Doyle. Pat is quite the accomplished woman; intelligent, driven, engineer by trade and has probably impacted your purchasing decisions on more than one occasion! (Hello Olay and Head & Shoulders!) Pat recently retired and is pursuing some of her personal passions, including creative writing. Now, what makes her different is that she has taken up BLOGGING! I was bursting with pride when she announced she was venturing into this medium. Here is a woman that two years ago was a self described social media "noob". Fast forward to today, and she's crafting a BLOG! But, if you know Pat, you know that this is not a strange occurrence. She is always striving to learn, push her boundaries and find new and creative outlets for her writing.
While she updates her blog and posts links to it on facebook, it got me thinking. Where are the brands talking to this demographic, OUR demographic. It seems that millennials are the new gold social currency standard and the holy grail for brands to chase after. Granted, as digital natives and active users on social, they are an understandably prized audience. BUT, as they chase the elusive "like" "fav" or "RT" from them, Brands are MISSING OUT on a hungry audience that WANTS to be catered, listened and paid attention to.... The boomers.
Every young person laments when their parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, etc join FB. It slowly kills the "cool" vibe we desperately seek. I mean really, we've all seen the hysterical fails parents have posted on Facebook, but we've also seen them become socially savvy audience members.
Brands need to recognize that this is a viable, hungry and MONEY SPENDING audience and we/they deserve some love and attention. If anything, we are low hanging fruit. Unless your brand gets the subtly and nuance of social content, this an EASY audience to connect with. They get traditional marketing and therefor much more open to your messaging. For brands that are still learning or are in their infancy stages of Social Media Marketing, this audience is ripe for the engagement and interaction.
The difference in spending habits between the two generations is VERY different. Millennials will not spend money on something just because you tweeted about it. In fact, their habits are quite interesting in that they value experiences and certain things much more than others. They feel THEIR own opinion is the only one that matters (or that of their friends), and quite honestly, most brands are doing very little to change them of it. BUT, pre-boomers and boomers are very open and eager to be communicated with. Last time I checked, they still had the income to make them matter. They still make purchasing decisions, contrary to what popular culture seems to think or imagine. (and no, we are not shopping with aides or canes, thank you very much, you young whippersnapper)
If you are a marketer, social media manager or even touch these disciplines, DON'T IGNORE this audience! While they may ironically be in their infancy when it comes to their social media lives, they still matter VERY MUCH. While they may not be tragically hip or cool or bearded or craft beer drinking instagrammers (yet), their purchasing power is still impressive. So please, I beg you, give them the attention and content they deserve.
Ok.. I'll get off my soap box now.. With some help from my nurse, of course.