Marketers starting to notice the “older” consumer: my appearance at Nielsen Consumer 360 conference

A couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to be one of the featured speakers at the Nielsen Consumer 360 conference in Toronto. This conference brings together over 300 of Nielsen’s clients and associates, to hear the latest buzz on what’s hot in the world of consumer marketing. Nielsen is, of course, one of the preeminent marketing and research companies in the world, and their client list is a who’s who of Canada’s biggest and most important organizations in consumer packaged goods and retailing. So it was an important forum – for me, and for ZoomerMedia. And it was gratifying to see so much interest in the Zoomers (the 45+ population) as a market. It’s been a while coming…but it looks like the momentum is starting to build. It makes perfect sense, of course – the 45+ population are the largest and wealthiest consumer market segment, and account for about 60 cents out of every dollar of consumer spending (and in some categories, like health and wellness, much more). But it’s taken marketers and ad agencies a long time to get over their obsession with the “youth” market as being the main target. Now the attention is shifting to where the dollars really are.

There was a lot of interest, too, in the longer-term marketing implications of the apparent “war of the generations” that I discuss in my new book, Beyond Age Rage. Two issues jumped out:

– If millennials really are significantly delaying some of the traditional milestones of adulthood – marriage, first job, first kids, first home – then this throws into disarray the “consumer life cycle” model on which so much of traditional mass marketing is based.

– If multi-generational families, or “grandfamilies,” are an important emerging niche, then this, too, throws into disarray the traditional model of which consumers make the key buying decisions at which stages of life. All of a sudden, grandparents may become important purchasing influences over kid’s products, for example. I covered this in my presentation, and had a lot of interesting dialogue with conference participants afterward.

I hope you enjoy the video – and welcome comments and questions.


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. Vice President, Zoomer Media Ltd. . Author of "The New Old" . 30 years experience in marketing communications, advertising, media . Speaker, writer, commentator on the revolution in aging and how to market to Boomers and seniors

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