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Are You Ignoring Your Best Customers?

As I trekked up the steep side of a remote volcano on the island of Bali in the 3am darkness en route to a spectacular sunrise at the top, it occurred to me that I was not the oldest person in my group of mostly Millennials. In fact, five of the twelve on the trip were over 50 years old, and the oldest was a 72-year-old woman.

This was a typical trip for Intrepid Travel, which bills itself as a company specializing in “Real Life Experiences.” The moniker is a clear, but subtle, appeal for a Baby Boomer audience.

With Boomers known their independent spirit and quest for authenticity, Intrepid Travel continues to seize upon their desire for adventure and thirst for knowledge in a way that attracts both Boomers and other generations alike.

Why market to aging Baby Boomers? Boomers are nearly 50% of the U.S. population, account for nearly 50% of all consumer packaged goods dollars spent, and control 70% of the nation’s disposable income. Yet, only 5% of all marketing and advertising dollars are directed at them. And that is despite the fact that a recent study by the University of Michigan showed that marketing campaigns targeting boomers are twice as likely to be successful as those targeting Millennials.

How does Intrepid Travel succeed at attracting both Boomers and Millennials? Their value proposition is age-agnostic. It has nothing to do with demographics.

And for good reason. While most companies are stuck on outmoded ideas on aging, Boomers are redefining what it means to age. A recent Del Web Study found that the average person 65 year old, when asked how young they feel, said a full 15 years younger than their age!

In fact, I find that many of my most successful clients have created core value propositions that do not fit specific demographics, but rather perfectly fit tightly defined psychographics (a classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria).

That’s right, my most successful clients tailor their core value proposition to target how people feel and NOT other types of demographics associated with the physical age of their audience’s bodies.

Perhaps it’s time to do a re-assessment of not only why people need your product or service, but also who truly needs your product or service. And most importantly, how that person thinks and feels and acts.

If you are still hung up on attracting the traditional 18-49 target, the 49 year-old customer who you will miss, may actually have a physical age of 64.

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