U.S. marketers have been making money
off their baby boomers for years. Want to know what they've
By Pamela Rohland
International magazine - June 2000
Whatever you do, don't call them old. Or elders. Or even
seniors. The slightest whiff of age-related condescension
could spell doom for entrepreneurs hoping to tap into the
largest category of consumers known to this or any previous
In America, baby boomers-those born between 1946 and
1964-may not be able to stop the inevitable march of time but,
as many are finding out, they refuse to grow old, even as the
first wave travels through their 50s.
"If you start thinking of boomers as seniors, you've missed
the market," says Ken Dychtwald, the 49-year-old founder of
Age Wave, an Emeryville, California, marketing firm that
targets boomers, and the author of Age Power: How the 21st
Century Will be Ruled by the New Old (Tarcher/Putnam).
Boomers won't wear hearing aids, for example, although
Dychtwald points out they may one day need their hearing
enhanced by "audiochips." Craig Forman, co-founder and CEO of
myprimetime, a new
Web site devoted to the interests of boomers, has banned the
word "retirement" on his site-with its connotation of rocking
chairs and long, empty hours-and replaced it with "freedom";
myprimetime viewers will have "freedom accounts" rather than
When marketing to boomers, experts say, you should remember
they'll always think young, no matter what the calendar says.
"Boomers feel 10 to 15 years younger than their chronological
age," according to Forman, 38.
With youthful mindsets and unprecedented life spans,
boomers for many years to come will be looking for products
and services to entertain and make their lives easier,
marketing experts say. And if you can throw in user-friendly
technology, too, so much the better.
who plans to remain forever young, is a writer based in
Bernville, Pennsylvania. Her work appears regularly in
regional and national