We hear it every day, population growth is slowing and the baby boomers are taking over, the young will have to foot the bill for their retirement and it will be a great national challenge. But let’s look at the positives, baby boomers have got money, much more than the young folk that it’s fun to make ads for. The campaigns making the most noise and getting the major plaudits most often seem to tap in to youthful fun, and while this can bring out the child in all of us, maybe older consumers want something that speaks directly to them.

A new market agency has launched called WISE, and it might just be ahead of the pack in what could be a major industry trend. WISE will work with brands who target the ‘mature market’ of consumers aged 50 and over only.

“Today’s reality is ‘age power rules,” WISE Managing Director Nadia Henry says. “Our research shows that 50 plus (consumers) will not ride the wave of communicating strategies focused on the younger, nor the senior generation. This is not a demographic that can be an add-on to anything. They have very distinct communications needs and expectations.”

When you’re talking about a market that has the spending power of around $218 billion, it’s hardly a niche, but could we see more and more focused agencies chasing brands who typically go after baby boomer consumers?

WISE’s tagline “Engaging the Ageing” is surely in the running for funniest marketing modus operandi of the year. It rolls off the tongue, I’m not sure in a good way, it certainly caters for brands’ love of that holy grail, “engagement”. Let’s just be glad they didn’t go with “healthy, wealthy and WISE”.

“The sheer numbers and discretionary dollars speak for themselves,” says Henry. “You need to be ‘Engaging the Ageing’ to thrive in business today – that’s where the money, power and influence lies. But sadly here in Australia, marketers are slow to realise the full potential of this powerful demographic when they need it most. They just don’t understand the market.”

WISE also gave us a session of myth busting on baby boomers….

Wise Research on Top Myths about the Mature Market:

  • Myth- People in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s are not Internet users. In fact, they are the fastest growing Internet users, spending more time online than teenagers.
  • Myth: The mature market doesn’t have money to spend; Yet the over 50s control the largest portion of Australia’s wealth.
  • Myth: Over 55+s stick with what they have; Rather they buy new and are the leading purchasers of health care, entertainment, alcohol, travel, electrical appliances, household services, reading materials,cosmetics, designer clothes and much more.
  • Myth: Baby boomers and beyond don’t try new things; Instead, they are constantly trying new brands and products that meet their changing life stages and styles
  • Myth: They are saving it for their children’s inheritance; This group is much more concerned about helping their children now.
  • Myth: They stay put; This demographic accounts for over 80% of all leisure travel.
BY Brendan Lawley ON 28 July 2011