-I'm a business person. How do I reach the most people who have the most money available to spend on my product or service?
Alas, the basic question that most business people ask themselves when planning out their marketing efforts. Should those people automatically buy into the standard ad-world mentality that the 18-35...or even the 25-54...age group should be the default demo when they can't decide for themselves? Well, of course, it's a changing world. And the decision process should change with it. But you'd never know it from some of what you read.
I point to a recent article in Variety, referenced by Mike Anderson on his stlmedia.net site, that indicates the average viewer of network TV is now 50. The piece seems to infer that being outside the standard target of 18-49 is a disastrous occurence for the networks that will have to be dealt with in order to sell advertising. The Variety analysis also points out that the median age of U.S. households is now 38. Well, sure there are generally two adults and 2.3 kids in households with parents under 40. Many households of people older than 40 are empty nests. So should the advertiser be trying to reach the average household, or the average person?
Well, if you want to believe that any message that reaches someone older than 49 is a waste of good ad dollars then go right ahead. But don't try to convince me that you're a sane person. Let's ask ourselves a few questions, and try to answer them honestly...
-Do you believe more people are financially secure who are older than 50, or younger?
-Do you believe more people are in a position to purchase something of significant value at the spur of the moment are older than 50, or younger?
-Do you believe that the baby boom of the late 40's through the early 60's was real, or fiction?
-Do you believe all baby-boomers have given up on life and withdrawn from society, or not?
Well, you get the point. If you are marketing anything to anybody you had better take into account that the baby boom was real and that a great percentage of the disposable income decisions made on any given day are made by people in that age group. In the 2000 census (the last official government survey of the population which is now 8 years old) it indicated that the largest increase in any age category was the 49% jump in the 45-54 age group because of the baby-boom influence. As I said, that fact is now 8 years old. So where do you suppose the largest increase will occur in the 2010 census? Sure, some of the boomers will die off before then...and at a higher rate than younger age groups...but not nearly enough to compensate for the enormous dominance brought to bear by the sheer numbers of boomers.
It seems to me that if you want to sell something...and lots of that something...you had better not get too enfatuated with appealing to the twenty-somethings and get a little more interested in the 50 or 60-somethings.