Ageless marketing is “marketing based not on age but on the values and universal desires that appeal to people across generational divides. Age-based marketing reduces the reach of brands because of its exclusionary nature. In contrast, ageless marketing extends the reach of brands because of its inclusionary focus.” – David Wolfe
We propose extending this concept one step further by applying the concept of ageless marketing to what has quickly become an ageless society, especially regarding the attitudes and approach of baby boomers.
Throughout history there has been an obsession with staying young; for example, hair dye was invented in 1907 by the founder of L’Oreal. Today it is even more pervasive with the rise of medical procedures, the size and reach of the beauty industry, and the opportunity to share and celebrate youth through social media. Images on Instagram are of young people curating perfect lives setting an aspirational tone for all ages. In the world of celebrity and the everyday, people are having “work done,” gray hairs are hidden, and fashion trends span across demographics. Marketing is not immune to the trend to stay young and is at the core of capturing the energy and vibrancy of young content.
The generation with the most disregard for age are baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964). They are fighting age every step of the way and do not consider themselves to be old and they most definitely do not want to be shown as old in marketing materials. They are just as interested in the products and trends for millennials as they are in things directly related to them. Baby boomers are also avid trendsetters and followers in their own right.
Within the ageless markets and ageless society, brands must be crafted to reach an older audience without alienating a younger one. Vibrant multi-generational imagery used with the right combination of messaging and tactical approach will make a strong connection. An ageless lifestyle brand will span across ages as multiple generations can picture themselves engaging with the brand now or in the future.
Social media is also influencing the overlap between generations as they are accessing similar content, bridging the gap between their activities and interests. Parents have never so readily been invited into the private worlds of their children and vice versa. They are sharing their personal experiences, but also preferences for products and services. Baby boomers are working hard to keep up with technology as they do not want to miss out on pictures of grandchildren or the travel and adventures of their friends. They also want to share their own pictures and experiences and are using social media platforms to demonstrate their own youthfulness. While baby boomers are still engaged in traditional media, social media has quickly become a primary vehicle for reaching this group.
In conclusion, playing to the trend of the ageless society by showcasing the youthful vibrancy of baby boomers will enable marketers and brands to reach a wide range of age groups and to harness their collective buying power.
For your next marketing campaign consider an ageless approach – a strong ageless lifestyle brand promoted effectively through social media will have the widest appeal and greatest reach.