Brands Don’t Target Me…a rant

Brands don’t target me because I’m not their “demographic.”  I am not a “GenY’er”. I’m not an “under 30” person.  I’m an educated, professional business person over the age of 40 who as a woman has more buying power than the under 30’s regardless of their sex. I am a “baby boomer,” a member of the largest, most powerful demographic out there.

What, I don’t like luxury sedans that go fast or fabulous hotels with fancy rooms and outrageous bars? Really? I’m not “hip” enough or “young” enough for you, right? I’m not who you’re targeting…but I should be.  You should be seeking out people in my demographic to find out where we spend our money and where we travel to. I think you would be surprised to find out we do want the cool car, the fabulous hotels/bars, the great locations for travel and vacations. Not all of us baby boomers are in the Cialis or Viagra demographic (with no disrespect to any that are). There’s an entire group of us that are being ignored or pushed aside for a group of kids who make decisions on the fly and like the pretty shiny things. (Ok, I’m generalizing and being a bit snarky here).

As an example, in my household, I make at least 80% of the decisions on what to buy, how much to spend and where to buy it. This goes for cars, appliances, electronic goods (including TV’s) and travel. I would almost bet my last dollar that this is true in most “boomer” households. The woman makes most of these decisions. Let me be clear on something – the Mr is not a silent voice in our household. His opinion does count, but when it comes to actually buying something, somehow that decision always lands on me.

I think companies forget that my “Clout” is bigger than #Klout and more important. I do my research and use that information to make quality purchases. I have walked away from a car purchase because the salesman insisted that I didn’t want the “fast cool” car. He actually did this when I told him I was spending my money and that the vehicle was for my use (and yes this was rather recent). He said it was made for the “younger” generation. Bad move on his part, but I understand the thought behind it. He’s been told I’m not the demographic who would buy that car. “We” only buy vehicles that are “family oriented” the equivalent of the “mini-van.”  If I want a hot rod and am willing to put my money down on the table for it, you shouldn’t tell me that it’s for the “kids.”  You should sell me the damn car and then go back to your marketing folks and tell them that perhaps they are wrong about who wants to buy that car.

I have planned every vacation that the Mr and I have taken in all the years we’ve been married.  That’s domestic and international travel. We stay in the cool boutique places, not the stodgy hotels that I can find here.  Why shouldn’t we? We’re an important demographic and we’re ignored. I can tell you what TV we purchased and why. Same with our computers (and I have purchased every computer in this house including the Mr’s), our kitchen appliances, etc. However, since I’m not your demographic, you wouldn’t know this – but you should.

If you look at most of today’s print and television media, coupled with “sponsored” blogs/websites, contests, etc., it is not targeted for me or people like me… The “baby boomers.” It’s targeted for the “under 30’s.”

Take for example the recent #Audi #A8 promotion. Part of the #Audi promotion appears to be promoted by #Klout via “Klout Perks.”

In my opinion, it’s not about the #Klout score (a topic for another time), but the age of the person that’s the target. A gentleman recently zipped around San Francisco in an #Audi who is younger than I am, but I have better #Klout scores. That’s ok – he’s a cool guy that I tweet with and he’s having fun.  But Audi is missing the point and to a degree, Klout is too. I know another gentleman who has a great Klout score, also a recipient of this promotion – also in the target demographic.  I have yet to hear of anyone in my demographic enjoy the same “perk,” regardless of their #Klout score.

I don’t begrudge any of the people who have participated in this promotion one bit. I get where #Audi is going – they want the GenY’ers money. They want their attention, their word of mouth.  I begrudge the marketing and advertising folks who are putting all of their eggs into the GenY basket. They are missing out on a larger, more affluent (for the most part), and savvier group of people. The baby boomers. We are the ones with true buying and staying power. The GenY’ers are new to this – and are just starting out. They are definitely a smart, savvy group of people who should be targeted.  Just not at the exclusion of the rest of us.

With that said, I believe ignoring the rest of us, they will lose much more. I saw the Audi A8 commercial on TV and frankly it is insulting.  Out with the “old” (Mercedes) in with the “new” (Audi) was the theme of the commercial that I saw. You’re not targeting me, now you’re insulting me. Why should I watch? Click; there goes the channel and a chance to get my money. Does it make me want to go to an #Audi dealership and check out the car, no. Obviously I’m not their target and I certainly don’t want to be treated as “old.”

Out with the old and in with the new is fine, if you’re celebrating a birthday or a holiday. Tossing aside an entire demographic though appears, in my opinion, to be bad business.  Brands should target those that spend money on the very things they hawk to a smaller demographic. We are important and there are more of us. My money will be spent on brands that advertise and market me, when I see it.

Btw, BMW makes an M5 that I would love to have (with a few options to make it more race car like).

  23 comments for “Brands Don’t Target Me…a rant

  1. June 7, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I’ve started taking original photos for my sites, because most of the models on the photo subscription service are in their 20s. And if there’a photo of someone in their 30s, they are described in the keywords section of the photo as “older” (I’m not making this up!), and there are comparatively few (almost none) photos of people 40 and over.

    People in their 60s are usually depicted pointing up at the sky (ostensibly at birds) or playing checkers.

    Really, it’s kind of insulting. I try to have a sense of humor about it, but at the same time I worry about the degree to which US culture has become youth-obsessed.

    When a young Japanese student was visiting here, she asked my 74-year old mother if she would stand next to her in a photograph, because it has great status and honor to be near the oldest person in the room. I mean, it’s like night and day!

    Anyway, the tagline to instantDane.tv is “live longer” and I refuse to use photos of anyone under the age of 40 anymore. I’m on a mission!!

  2. June 7, 2011 at 12:08 am

    What a great post! I asked this question at the Blog World Expo travel panel last year – Why is it that these luxury hotels were targeting young moms – instead of me? The representatives coughed and squirmed. I think it’s because marketing and pr is full of under thirties and sometimes they aren’t even aware that there are people who are over 50.

    • June 7, 2011 at 1:07 am

      Thanks Julie. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

      If you have “kids” doing the marketing and pr, they’re going to point their Brands to the same age bracket.

      It’s a shame they have such tunnel vision and are missing out on the bigger demographic with the money to spend.

      I think we need to start a movement and speak louder…with our wallets.

      ~s.

  3. April 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    It’s like the vast majority of men’s fitness and health magazines all have 20-somethings (or sometimes 30-somethings: gasp!) on the cover. Why would I buy that magazine? Where are the fit, inspiring images of men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s+?

    I do agree with you, Sherree. Even now: it’s like Madison Avenue still doesn’t know what to with Boomers, or even X-ers. That’s why I finally started a blog on the science and art of life extension. I figured I’d finally just *create* the content that I’ve been desiring for so long!

    { twitter = @danenow }

  4. January 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I’m finally catching up on my “HeartsBlood” give away.

    Here is the link and the 100% off coupon for your copy. :-)

    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/30950

    Use at checkout: RL39D

    I have followed your blog as well.
    It was such a blur on Monday that I am not sure if you followed mine.

    No big deal, just if you haven’t and you have some time if you could that would be great! :-)

    Also it looks like you review books. I am the founder of Indie Book Collective and we have another blog tour coming up in April and Bestseller in a Day coming up if you would be interested in becoming an official reviewer :-)

  5. January 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Nice article.

  6. January 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I like your blog. This post has a lot of guts to it. Just for fun, here’s Slate.com’s list of 80 Over 80 (and some 79-year-olds to watch): http://www.slate.com/id/2276194/

    • January 27, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. It was a hard post to write, but I’m glad I did.

      I LOVE your blog! I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. Slate.com’s list is incredible. I appreciate you pointing me to it.

      ~s.

  7. January 25, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I’m a GenY’er and I guess I never considered this before but now reading the post and all the comments I totally understand where you are coming from.

    My dad (who is over 60) went in to buy a sports car a few years ago and the salesperson nearly keeled over when he told him he didn’t want a Cadillac or an Oldsmobile lol!

    My parents are, obviously, boomers and they travel even more then I do…and I’m a traveler! They just have more money and go on better vacations then I do! lol

    So I think you’re right, it’s about time advertisers and brands pay attention to the boomers as you all (the ones who commented) seem to be living and loving life and not afraid to spend good money on it!

    Great post :-)

    • January 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      I’m not surprised at the reaction your dad received – shouldn’t happen. I’m glad you weren’t insulted by the post and that you understand what I was saying.

      I’m so glad you stopped by. :)

      ~s

  8. January 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    It seems that when I was in my 20s advertisers were targeting middle-aged people who presumably had more money. (I was still paying off college loans.) Now that I’m middle-aged advertisers are targeting people in their 20s. I guess I just can’t win.

    When I needed to buy a new laptop last Summer (the old one was stolen), the 20-something guy at the cash register read me a checklist of other things I might want to purchase. His attitude was about what I’d expect–he thought I was an old fuddy-duddy who doesn’t know much about technology. In fact he was a bit condescending at first.

    Then he asked if I wanted to purchase Microsoft Office.

    “No, I’ve used Open Office for years.”

    “Oh,” says the kid. “You *know* something about computers.” After that he was very nice to me.

  9. Kathy Miranda
    January 24, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I agree 100%! I will turn 48 this year – just got a really HOT 2011 Nissan Maxima – it’s red and it’s fast. Not exactly your momma’s minivan so 😛

    • January 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm

      Sweet! Enjoy your “red hot” car!

      ~s.

  10. January 24, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Wait…do I read #Klout Envy? LOL!

    “A gentleman recently zipped around San Francisco in an #Audi who is younger than I am, but I have better #Klout scores. That’s ok – he’s a cool guy that I tweet with and he’s having fun.”

    Awesome post and I would have loved to have you in my #Audi for the weekend, but I think BMW will be calling you sooner than you know!

    Cheers,
    Taariq

    • January 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm

      Nah, no #Klout envy here! :)

      I really am glad you understood that I wasn’t being personal, just making a point. You’re a good sport (and good man).

      I did find it interesting that @Audi started following me after this posted – but I haven’t heard a peep from them, so I’m not sure what the purpose was. Any clue? Don’t quite understand a brand that really is “out” there right now and doesn’t engage.

      Can’t wait to meet up with you soon in SF.

      ~s.

  11. January 24, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I’m not defending them, so don’t take this the wrong way…

    …but when has advertising *ever* really targeted anyone outside of the 18-35 bracket? Unless they’re selling products/services that are specifically for an older crowd, the ads and promotions skew young. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember (I turned 36 recently, so I guess they won’t be interested me in anymore lol).

    I’m not saying it’s right, but I don’t think it’s new.

    So, therein lies the challenge. How can the automakers – or any other company – market properly to Boomers, Gen-Yers, and every other demographic while at the same time respecting that not everyone within a generation thinks or feels the same way?

    *and* while considering that men and women within a generation might want different things;
    *and* while considering that people of different ethnic backgrounds might want different things;
    *and* while considering that people with kids might want different things than people without kids?

    There are so many variables, I honestly don’t know how an advertiser can produce anything without alienating someone. If Honda all of a sudden decided to market only to Boomers, anyone under 40-45 would start complaining that they weren’t being served – and they’d have the same point that you do about you not being served in your demographic.

    I don’t have any answers, and this is all just rambling off the top of my head. Thanks for the discussion, it’s quite interesting.

    • January 27, 2011 at 10:57 pm

      You make excellent points there for rambling off the top of your head. You’re right – brands can’t please everyone nowadays. They shouldn’t have to, but they should pay more attention.

      In the research and marketing that I’ve seen over the past year or so, boomers are not being included in just about anything except stuff for the over 65 crowd.

      Seriously, our demographic (as varied in age, ethnicities, likes/dislikes, etc.. as it is) is so important, it doesn’t make sense (to me) for brands to ignore us. We are the best advocates for a brand that could possibly exist. If a brand engages us, we look at their product, most likely buy it and then tell our friends (whether it is good or bad). We can be that brands’ best friend or worst enemy. They should be listening to all of us.

      There are no easy answers to this – I get that. I hope that this invites more discussion everywhere. Maybe we’ll get brands to pay just a bit more attention. One can hope anyway.

      Thanks for stopping by – I really appreciate your comments.

      ~s.

  12. January 24, 2011 at 6:53 am

    You are so right. I write about baby boomer travel and the majority of my readers, by a wide margin, are women, aged 45 to 65. Instead of treating boomer women as if we were invisible, advertisers and marketers should be bowing at our feet because we’re the ones with the money to spend. My biggest gripe are marketers who treat boomers as if we have one foot in the grave. I don’t want to read ads about Depends or assisted living. And, please don’t call me SENIOR. Give me information on active travel, hot sports cars and chic clothes and I’ll pull out my wallet.

  13. January 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Great point about buying power. It makes you wonder if they’re talking to buyers of their product. As you pointed out, “baby boomers” are in a much better position to buy their product than most “GenY’er’s”.

    People that want hot rods and people that want minivans are not defined by their age. We are far more defined by our interests and pursuits than age. The companies that ‘get’ that will find their marketing and branding efforts speak more clearly to us.

    • January 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm

      Thank you Scott. I totally agree with your second paragraph. There are so many of us, you would think they would get it. I’m hoping discussions like this will get their attention.

      I appreciate you stopping by – can’t wait for more conversations on our “favorite” gadgets!

      ~s.

  14. January 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    YEAH, she said it outloud and so soon after a group of us “Boomer” women discussed these “oversights” by especially today’s automakers.

    So much so I am about to start a campaign to embarass every automaker who does not market to us properly.

    You thought Brian Solis was kidding when he said in an interview on Breakthrough Business Strategies radio, This (2011) is the year that the consumer will figure out they ARE the power and will star two wield it.

    I have my sword in hand. Who is ready to have me give you a slice of my buying power.

    • January 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm

      Woo hoo! I’m right behind you with that sword. :) Brian hit the nail on the head. I’m tired of being ignored – my wallet is open to company’s that want my business and make the effort to include me in their marketing. Period.

      ~s.

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