Email marketers are tripping over themselves trying to reach millennials and Gen-Zers.
They should abandon that approach and instead target baby boomers — not by age but by life events, according to Generation Z Is Not the Next Big Thing, a study by Zenith.
Classical marketing wisdom held that 80% of a person’s defining life events occurred before age 35 — i.e., marriage, children, home buying.
But the grizzled set is living longer, and going through a whole other set of significant events. Demographics no longer suffice — brands must rely on “lifestage and events that drive brand behaviour change.”
People ages 55 and over will account for 50% of spending growth in the U.S. from 2008 to 2030, and even more in grayer societies like Germany (89%) and Japan (67%), the study reports.
Fair or unfair, this reflects a job market bias in favor of boomers and generational shift in wealth, the study observes. However, some of the life events might surprise you.
“This generation of empty nesters is rediscovering the joys of youth while those who never had kids are still indulging. Americans over 60 are divorcing at twice the rate as in 1990, and in UK it is three times,”
No wonder they call them “the me generation.”
What’s more, elder change moments are “easy to identify, predict and target,” the study continues. “In fact, when we think about it, older ‘middle’ aged people might change behaviour less often, but when they do they stay in a habit for longer, so the change has a longer lifetime value.”
To use an overworked term, this also means that boomers are more likely to be disruptors.
Boomers prefer email over other channels. But they want the messaging to be “age-agnostic,” and demand to be treated as if they were younger, according to a report by Euromonitor International.
So keep in mind that your email should be personalized based on behavior, not age group.
Not that Generation Z should be ignored. But again, base your targeting on life events, not on age.
The study refers to this approach as “Perennial Marketing.” And it argues that, “compared to the new options available, targeting by age is a poor proxy for potential sales.”
Whatever your age skew, strive for accuracy.
“Addressable media means that you only reach the individuals you target, which mean that you nee to be more precise on your buying audience definition,” the study states.