boomer women purchasing power

Last week, as part of the L’Oreal show at Paris Fashion Week, a model threw conventional standards to the wind and strutted down the runway without shoes, tossing her platinum locks as she twirled her flowing maxi dress. This was no fresh-faced, twenty-something super model. Nope. Instead it was 74-year-old Dame Helen Mirren, refusing to be rendered invisible.

And the crowds loved her! The media, too. L’Oreal has hit upon something that other brands and marketers still struggle with: reaching, and celebrating, women over the age of 50.

A Picture of the Baby Boomer Generation

It’s hard to imagine the likes of Oprah, Ellen, Christie Brinkley, Stevie Nicks, or Meryl Streep feeling invisible to marketers, but that’s the current reality. And yet, women over the age of 50 are more active, more interested in beauty and fashion, and more technologically savvy than any other generation before them.

In spite of these characteristics, marketers still skew toward aged stereotypes, using images of graying, stooped, and infirm men and women in their media campaigns. The marketers who do attempt to tap into the youthfulness of the 50+ cohort often miss the mark by re-imagining this audience as 25 years old, plus 30 years, never taking into account the life changes and evolving worldviews of these older women.

When examining the marketing strategies brands use to reach this age group, it’s easy to see why 77% of women over the age of 50 feel either ignored or say advertisers simply don’t understand them.

Boomer Women Superpower

Women over the age of 50—including the powerful Baby Boomer generation—make up one-third of the US population and account for $3.2 trillion in annual consumer spending. While marketers focus on Millennials and Generation X, who hold 30% of aggregate spending for the year, they’re missing out on the combined 52% of spending for buyers over the age of 50.

These female buyers have their fingers in many pies. Due to economic stress, their children often turn to them for financial assistance, either for a place to live, to co-sign on a loan, or for quick cash to make ends meet. In addition to providing financial aid to their adult children, many consumers over the age of 50 also provide support for their aging parents.

This puts these women in a unique spot for marketers—a spot that is still often overlooked. With responsibility for their own needs, plus the needs of two other generations, the buying power this 50+ cohort wields is immense.

How to Connect with 50 Women with Your Marketing

Your brand can hit the mark with this group just as L’Oreal did with Dame Helen Mirren. While they shoulder a lot of responsibility, this group still wants to have fun, explore, and feel beautiful. Here are some tips on connecting with this group of women and their immense spending power.

Consider Customer Intent

Many brands are more focused on making a splash than actually reaching their target consumers. And reaching those consumers requires knowing them well. Do you know why buyers are using your products? What pain or problem your product solves for them? What insights can you gather from that information? Demographics alone don’t tell the whole story – it requires observing and linking multiple aspects of user behavior to understand purchase intent. Once you understand intent, you then can map your buyer’s purchase journey to the various stages of the marketing funnel.

Expand Your Marketing Department

Be honest now: How old is your oldest marketing staffer? Do you have a diverse range of ages among your team? You might be better able to reach your target if you have team members who know exactly what this generation is looking for because they live in that space.

Be Authentic

One size does not fit all in any generation. Imagine the various life experiences women over the age of 50 have had, and then seek out those who can share their experiences for your marketing efforts. Real-life scenarios mirrored in your marketing initiatives will touch the emotions—and the wallets—of those you’re trying to reach.