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Marketing to Boomer Men by Brent Green

Marketing to Boomer Men by Brent Green

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Published by Brent Green
An abundance of 50+ men promises to inculcate new vitality to masculine aging. Boomer men are creating new paths of meaning for all men to follow, and this will be revealed culturally through brilliant marketing. This article proposes underdeveloped opportunities for generational and gender nuances in marketing to Baby Boomer men plus develops powerful marketing strategies to reach this lucrative cohort.
An abundance of 50+ men promises to inculcate new vitality to masculine aging. Boomer men are creating new paths of meaning for all men to follow, and this will be revealed culturally through brilliant marketing. This article proposes underdeveloped opportunities for generational and gender nuances in marketing to Baby Boomer men plus develops powerful marketing strategies to reach this lucrative cohort.

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Published by: Brent Green on Sep 04, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/21/2010

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Page 1
MARKETING TO BABY BOOMER MEN
By Brent Green, Author of Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers 
Chapter excerpt from Brent Green’s forthcoming book: 
THE BOOMER FUTURE
How Boomers Today Are Changing Business, Marketing, Aging & the Future 
Copyright 2009, Brent Green, All Rights Reserved 
 
Page 2
By Brent Green, Author of Marketing toLeading-Edge Baby Boomers
 
egendary guitarist and rock singer Steve Winwood gave optimism a new ringtone when he released
Back in the High Life Again 
 in 1986. He lyrically proclaimed:
It’s so hard to just slow down, so don’t be surprised to see me back in that bright part of town.
  And what is true for the ebullient classicrocker tends to be true today for the male Boomercohort, of which Winwood is one high-profileexample. This insight arrives in contradiction tosome prevailing wisdom about Boomersegmentation opportunities.For example, several new books identify  women 40+ as today’s muscle consumer. As Mary Brown and Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., co-authors of 
BOOM: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer – the Baby-Boomer Woman 
, observe: “She is already making the majority of household purchases,spending well over a trillion dollars a year onconsumer goods and services. And now, as bothher numbers and dollars continue to dominate theconsumer marketplace, she’s poised to turn themarketing world upside down.”
1
  According to these authors, women “make 80percent of home improvement decisions…account for 65 percent of all new automobiles soldevery year, and purchase over 66 percent of computers.”
2
 
1
 
 BOOM: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer —The Baby-Boomer Woman
, by Mary Brown & CarolOrsborn, Ph.D., Amacom, page 9
2
 
 Ibid.,
page 20
 These books would lead some not to focus onBoomer men. Why bother?For one, Boomer Y chromosomes hand American business about $1 trillion annually. Foranother, gender proclivities coupled withgenerational affiliation present important targeting and business development opportunities thatdemand to be noticed.
When Demographics, Social Revolution and Business Converge 
Never before in the history of this nationhave so many men entered the 50+ lifestage.Nearly six thousand Baby Boomer men turn 50every day, and a Boomer male turns 60 aboutevery 15 seconds. This inexorable march to 60+ will continue for the next seventeen years, andthen this generation’s longevity dash continuesonward toward the eighth, ninth, and tenthdecades of life. Someday, millions of Boomer men will survive beyond the average terminal ageachieved by their grandfathers and fathers.Demography by itself does not fully predictthe future course for this generation. Theidiosyncratic Boomer value set, inspired by thesocial and cultural revolutions of the 1960’s and1970’s, adds dimension to future scenarios.Generational cohorts consist of those born ina contiguous historical period. As a generationcomes of age, roughly between 15 and 25,members experience the same major events,forming 
collective mentalities 
in reaction to theseevents, thereby influencing sociology and cultureof the generation. Formative experiences can have
L
 
Page 3
enduring influence throughout life, withimplications for the marketplace. How so forBoomer men?First, this generation of men has experiencedthe consumer power that came with being at thetop of the nation’s traditional social hierarchy. When they were young adults, Boomer men werefavored with jobs, wage and salary advantages, andaccess. Social status influenced them to resonate with ideals about manhood as demonstrated by heroic marketing archetypes such as the
 Marlboro Man 
and the
Shelby Ford Mustang 
.Second, they also remember standing side-by-side with female peers during long months of struggle to achieve greater economic and socialequality for women. Many protested for greaterracial inclusiveness. A man coming of age in thesixties and seventies learned to empathize with theunderdog and to challenge authority.Social inclusiveness has appeared in countlessadvertising and marketing campaigns during thelast half of the 20
th
century. An iconic magazine adcampaign for the Volkswagen Beetle – “Think Small” – embodied the underdog achieving celebrity status. This sense of equality has powerfulnew implications as the nation embraces its first African American (and Boomer) president. Third, Boomer men have always beenunwilling to accept the status quo bequest by oldergenerations. They have a feisty history of revolutionary behavior, and they’ve transformedevery lifestage they’ve occupied. They ushered in the yuppie. They gravitatedto products such as the
BMW 
sports car and
 Mont Blanc 
pen, reflecting their well-honed sense of technology,design andluxury. Withtheir powerlunches and24/7 work style,they popularized agrueling productivity ethic.Boomer men today are wary of disempowerment and restrictive rules governing full participation by mature men in society. They’ve watched too many of their resignedfathers trudge over the horizon. Caricaturedadvertising portrayals of men as silly and inanepropose an unwelcome second-class status. They are unwilling to accept systemicmarginalization. They express their independencein a number of ways and particularly whenconsuming. Aleve television commercials portray athleticBoomer men refusing to give up competitivesports and surrender to worn-out joints. Themessage resonates with a generation that continuesto embrace metaphors of youth: conquer, don’tcapitulate. An abundance of 50+ men promises toinculcate new vitality to masculine aging. Boomermen are creating new paths of meaning for all mento follow, and this will be revealed culturally through brilliant marketing.Here are some underdeveloped opportunitiesfor generational and gender nuances in marketing:
Collaboration between Boomer Men & Women 
 The Boomergeneration hasplayed a significantrole popularizing genderinclusiveness. Whileone spouse may have greaterinfluence on thechoice of some product categories, big ticketpurchases are usually a byproduct of spousaldeliberation and cooperation. Gone are the days when Dad pulls into the driveway with a new carthat he has selected and purchased unilaterally. And gone are the days when Dad comes home tofind a new clothes washer and dryer. Boomerspouses have learned to collaborate, and males andfemales can often be reached effectively withmessages shaped around gender considerations.
Mainstreaming Metrosexual Men 
 A new sociological male segment, identified inrecent years by British writer Mark Simpson, is notdominated by homosexuals, but they’ve embracedthe feminine sides of life while holding ontotraditional male identity. As Simpson observed:“Metrosexuality actually gives men a certainamount of independence from women: after all,they can actually choose their own clothes, operate

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