Marketing to Women Before the Big 5-0

Marketing to women before the big 5-0

Marketing to Boomer women past 50 can be a delight-these women, as a group, are full of vitality and zest for life. But this outlook on life doesn’t happen instantly. Along the way, women definitely go through an attitude change along with “The Change.” As women in their 40s approach their 50th birthday, many of them are definitely not seeing the world as a happy place. First we’ll overview their attitudes, then address what marketing professionals can do about it.

In research for my book PrimeTime Women, we suspected there would be differing attitudes amongst women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, so we structured our Girlfriend Groups to keep each decade together. And, boy, were we right!

Women in their 50s and 60s embrace their age with passion and pride. But those women in their 40s-whew. When talking about aging and its effects on appearance, lifestyle, finances and so on, they’re either in complete denial and want to remain that way, or they’re filled with fear and anxiety; they expect the worst and are devastated by the mere thought of turning 50. Here are some of their thoughts:

“I just kind of believe in the Scarlett O’Hara approach-I’ll worry about that tomorrow.” – Carolyn, 46

“When you’re 50, you don’t feel like a sexy lady anymore. You’re grumpy.” – Luz, 46

So what’s a marketer to do when marketing to women in their 40s? Fright and denial don’t really make for good marketing campaigns, would you say? But there’s hope around the corner!

In talking with women in their 50s and 60s, it was clear they had crossed the threshold and found a brave new world on the other side. In fact, the National Center on Women and Aging at Brandeis University discovered that more than half of women over 50 felt that “getting older is ‘much’ better than they had expected.” Here are two statements from our Girlfriend Groups:

“For me, turning 50 was like coming into your own. You stop worrying about a lot of things and do what you want.” – Debbie, 54

“I am blessed with a lot of friends. God has been good to me, and I am looking forward to 60 more years.” – Shirley, 66

The marketing approach for reaching women in their 40s is to think “aspirational”-we know in a few years these women will be loving life again. Let’s help them get there faster by dispelling the “granny” and “elderly” myths and instead accurately portray life after 50 in our marketing campaigns, advertising and messaging. After all, modern media is partly to blame for these women’s anti-aging attitudes… let’s work to repair that image!

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