Tag Archives: Boomer Women

OXO Broadens its Appeal through Marketing to Boomer Women

Boomer women are more demanding. Please them, and you appeal to many market segments.


Women in general—and Boomer women in particular—are more discerning and demanding customers than men. Boomer women bring their wealth of experience (as well as the wealth of their purse!) to every buying experience. And they expect to find the “perfect answer,” not just a brand that will “do.”

I always tell my audiences that by marketing to women and designing products that make women happy, brands will go above and beyond their male customers’ expectations. Here’s a great example of a brand doing just that—designing for Boomer women and appealing to younger women and men of all ages alike.

One of today’s most successful housewares companies came about due to one man’s desire to address his wife’s difficulties with holding ordinary kitchen utensils because of arthritis. Sam Farber put together a group of researchers that included a noted gerontologist and developed a line of 15 products using “universal design,” defined as:

“The design of products usable by as many people as possible. It is important to note that Universal Design does not mean designing products fully usable by everybody, since there is no product that can truly fulfill the needs of all users. But when all users’ needs are taken into consideration in the initial design process, the result is a product that can be used by the broadest spectrum of users. In the case of OXO, it means designing products for young and old, male and female, left- and right-handed and many with special needs.”

The line, now known as OXO, has grown to include more than 850 items, including utensils with broad, cushy handles and angled measuring cups that can be read from the top. OXO has won international design awards and has devotees across every age group. Although originally designed for older consumers, the design and functionality makes their products appealing to many market segments.

Five Amazing Facts About Boomer Women

Five Amazing Facts About Boomer WomenCall them what you will, Boomer women, older women or—my preference—PrimeTime Women. Women aged 50-70 are in the prime of their lives and represent an amazing marketing opportunity. But what do these Boomer women care about? And what strategies are best for marketing to Boomer women?

For my book, PrimeTime Women, I worked with agency powerhouse DDB Chicago to learn what makes Boomer women tick. We conducted Girlfriend Groups with women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, respectively. DDB also has a remarkable research knowledge base in their proprietary Life Style Study that has captured a treasure trove of consumer and category data for over 30 years.

What You Need to Know About Marketing to Boomer Women

Five Amazing Facts About Boomer Women

Here are five amazing facts about marketing to Boomer women. These are key aspects about Boomer women marketers need to know.

  1. Experiencing the Joy of Being – What is particularly striking about the Boomer woman is the contentment, joy and enthusiasm with which she lives her life. Although she describes herself as serious, being serious does not equate to being negative. She’s happier and more content and possesses a brighter, more optimistic disposition than Generation X and Millennial women who are many years who junior.
  2. Relishing Liberation – Boomer women relish their liberation. Identifying with their new-found sense of freedom and independence will ensure your marketing efforts resonate with Boomer women. But this isn’t the same old “women’s liberation” you’ve heard about your entire life. Boomer women are redefining the term. They are enjoying a “liberation from expectation.” Even in the face of challenges and demands on their time like children moving back home and caring for aging parents, most Boomer women still say that they feel freer than they did when they were younger.
  3. Rocking Her World – You need to rock her world when it comes to marketing to Boomer women. The social and political activism that was the imprimatur of the 1960s is still alive among Boomer women, and beating with a much stronger heart than is the one beating in younger women. Many of the more activist attitudes and behaviors that were formed when Boomer women were in their youth have stayed with them as they’ve gotten older. They still want their voices to be heard—be they liberal or conservative.
  4. Brimming with Confidence – In the Girlfriend Groups conducted with DDB Chicago,Boomer women told us that getting older better equips them to make decisions more confidently than when they were younger. They know how to handle unexpected turbulence and how to get around obstacles in ways that younger women have yet to figure out. With age comes experience. And with experience comes wisdom. This wisdom has given Boomer women confidence and control over their lives, indeed a swagger.
  5. Living Life in “Drive” – 59% of Boomer women agree with the statement, “My greatest achievements are still ahead of me.” Further, Boomer women have a very clear idea of what it is they want to achieve and how they are going to get there. Over two-thirds (68%) of Boomer women agree, “I am the kind of person who knows what I want to accomplish in life and how to achieve it.”

Nobody Prospects Women!

Nobody prospects women!We know that 55% of affluent women think wealth managers could do a better job serving women. And 73% are overall “most dissatisfied” with the financial services industry.

And no wonder. Almost nobody even bothers to prospect women (let alone building great client relationships with them)! According to LIMRA:

Of female producers, only 50% prospect women. Of male producers, only 20-25% do!

Some financial advisors have told me that men don’t prospect women because, “Women investors prefer women advisors.” Nope, I’m not buying it!  Economist Dr. Sasha Galbraith revealed that merely 11% of women prefer a woman advisor, with 85% having no preference concerning their advisor’s gender.

Selling Financial Services to Women — What a Golden Opportunity

In a market where women will soon control 70% of private wealth and 50% of millionaires are women, I’m almost in shock that financial advisors would basically ignore this lucrative segment. Besides her affluence, women make better clients.

Three Long-Term Rewards for Prospecting Women

  1. Women have the money. Women will inherit 70% of the $41 trillion in inter-generational wealth transfer expected over the next 40 years.
  2. Once she chooses you as her advisor, she’s loyal. Advisors report women are much less likely to defect during downturns.
  3. Make her happy, and she’ll send you way more referrals than men do. I mean WAY more. An average woman client will refer you 26 times compared to a man referring you twice.

If you aren’t prospecting women already, what’s holding you back? Please leave a comment and let me know– I’m incredibly curious.


The Game-Changing Generation that Rocketed Women to the Top

The Game-Changing Generation that Rocketed Women to the TopSo, Start Marketing Financial Services to Women!

Financial management firm Barclays Wealth raised some eyebrows when they found, “More than 80% of affluent women now derive their riches from personal earnings, particularly from their own businesses.” Instead of “marrying into money,” as the stereotype goes, women are generating their own affluence through independent income, business ownership and investments.

Wow, how did that happen?

Selling to Affluent Women? Look for the Boomers!

Boomer women are radically different from all prior generations of women, and they are the main reason that 50% of US millionaires are women. Boomers are a unique breed of women! Here are the four reasons they have changed the game:

  1. Advances in health, nutrition, fitness and medical treatments mean they will live longer and happier
  2. Boomers started the college graduation groundswell among women, with 27% of college graduate Boomers being women (compared to 14% of college graduates during World War II and before)
  3. At 55%, the majority of Boomer women work outside the home
  4. Boomer women have fought for and taken advantage of gender equality measures like family planning and property rights

Boomer women have life experience and expectations that no other generation of women ever considered before. And, they have more independent wealth as a result. They expect financial service brands to honor their achievements to win their business. Are you up to the challenge?

Have you seen any particularly effective (or terrible?) approaches to marketing to affluent women? What are your thoughts on Boomer women’s affluence and power? Share your comments and join the conversation!

Who are Boomer Women?

who-are-boomer-womenWhen people talk of “older women,” images of the stereotypical grandmother come to mind. But while Boomer women (or, as I call them, PrimeTime women), likely may be grandmothers, they won’t fit most stereotypes. While yesterday’s grandma may have sat in a rocker, reading a book and sipping tea during her leisure hours, today’s grandma is more likely to be sitting at her computer, checking her investments and sipping bottled green tea, just come in from her tennis match.

Today’s woman 50-70 years old is very different from women of previous generations. In fact, it may be said that this is the first generation who can legitimately be called “PrimeTime,” for two reasons:

  1. As recently as 50 years ago, 50-70 wasn’t really the “prime of life.” Boomer women are the first generation of women to have the benefit of recent significant advances in health, fitness and nutritional awareness, as well as access to miracles of modern medicine like knee replacements and heart transplants.
  2. Additionally, 50 years ago, 50-70 wasn’t really a “prime marketing target,” either. The things we buy now with our discretionary income simply didn’t exist then. There were virtually no consumer electronics—no smart phones, no personal computers, no GPS devices, no Internet. There were no spas, no cosmetic surgery, no gourmet grocery stores, no home furnishing stores (except for Sears), no Home Shopping Channel, no personal trainers, no venti decaf nonfat vanilla lattes. There were few real investments besides one’s home, little participation in life insurance, and a good deal of reluctance to get involved in the stock market. (Remember, the great stock market crash was still fresh in many minds).

Fifty years ago, the relatively recent innovation of Social Security enabled most people to retire at 65. Note that when Social Security was established in 1935, the average life expectancy was 61. So, for most people, there were at best only a few years between retirement and death. Travel, hobbies and socializing were modest.

So who are Boomer women? They are women who defy historical precedent. They represent an inflection point in history- a dramatic, radical change from those who went before them.

And the opportunity for marketing to Boomer women is just as dramatic and radical. We now have an entire generation to buy our products and services that simply never existed in the past. For most companies, this amazing realization has yet to dawn on them—and I wonder when they will finally take notice.

Marketing to Mid-Life Crisis? Women Won’t Buy It.

Marketing to Mid-Life Crisis? Women Won’t Buy It.Mid-life for Boomer women defies the cultural assumption that people become unhappier as they age. Marketing and sales professionals should focus on the many reasons Boomer women have to celebrate mid-life. One reason mid-life is such a revitalizing time for women is that women have built a support network throughout their lives, which only strengthens them as they age.

Women bond with each other by talking. Oh, there may be an activity involved—dining, shopping, working out—but it’s all a background to the conversation. They like hearing another person’s stories and problems because it builds an empathetic connection—it’s one of the things women are wired for. Women friends are great when you’re feeling low; they’re like your own personal psychotherapist.

When things are rough, like when she’s going through a mid-life crisis, a woman has a whole network of personal therapists to draw on. And this network can be a lifesaver, as some of the participants in our Marketing to PrimeTime Women research said:

“My friends and I meet and walk for an hour five days a week. We all try to touch base and be our own therapy group. It’s so healthy for me. We have helped each other out.” – Lynn, 50

“My friends… without them, I would be a basket case and much, much lonelier.” – Anne, 54

Marketing to PrimeTime WomenResearch shows that friendship lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity and promotes healing. It may help explain one of the mysteries of medical science: why women, on average, have lower rates of heart disease and longer life expectancies than men.

A focus of your marketing to Boomer women strategies should include the importance of friendship and networks. Communicate the Boomer woman’s strength through her network, and how she is strong for own her friends.

Boomers Spend More, So Why Aren’t You Marketing to Them?

Boomers Spend More, So Why Aren't You Marketing to Them?Baby Boomers have accumulated more wealth and have more spending power than any other cohort in history (and we know that women make up the majority of that spending!). At almost one-quarter of the US population, the 50+ crowd accounts for more than 40% of spending each year, and they control 50% of discretionary spending.

Let’s add that up for the full impact. 50+ Boomers are buying $2 trillion worth of goods and services each year.

So how does that break out across spending categories? Compared to consumers 25-35, Boomers aged 55-64 are spending:

  • 20% more on new cars and trucks
  • 29% more on meals eaten at full-service restaurants
  • 38% more on airfare
  • 58% more on sports equipment
  • 100% more on coffee
  • 113% more on wine consumed at home
  • 127% more on maintenance, repairs and home insurance
  • 258% more on owned vacation homes

Do you see your company’s niche somewhere on that list? What’s your approach to marketing to Boomers? Companies would do well to develop marketing plans and strategies for Boomers, specifically Boomer women.

Marketing to Boomer Women is ‘Sage’

Marketing to Boomer Women is SageMy friend Michal Clements and her fellow alumni rescued their Penn alumni group for Boomers from the name “The Old Guard,” replacing it with the much more complimentary and descriptive “Penn Sages.” As she cleverly put it, “Calling them ‘old’ is not a marketing strategy.”

Marketing to Boomer Women is Sage

In her new article, “Does Your Brand Tap into the Power of Sages?,” Michal explores what her group has learned about marketing to Boomers– that they have more time and money than their younger counterparts. Also, that Boomers are interested in:

“Cultural events such as academic lectures from a wide variety of disciplines, including breakthrough cancer research, literature and architecture.  Sages also enjoy a nice brunch served up with the chance to connect and engage with like-minded individuals who share an organizational affiliation”

And she very kindly quotes my observations in Marketing to Boomer Women: A Radical Generation, a Radical Opportunity. For more on marketing to Boomer women, watch this short video from my speech to marketers in Denmark.

Watch the video: Marketing to Boomer Women

News Flash! Women Love Clothes: Marketing Fashion to Boomer Women

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 2.54.43 PMFashion industry, listen up. Do you know that the average clothing size of an American woman is size 14? “Average” means that fully half of the female population is larger than a size 14, and because of the childbirth thing and the gravity thing, I guarantee you more than half of Boomer women are larger than size 14. If I know that, how come you don’t know that?

At least, it doesn’t look like you know, because most of your mannequins and models look to be about size 2 or 4. Can the average woman, who couldn’t be more different from Heidi Klum if she were a fish, identify with that? (Rhetorical question.)

Most Boomer women love clothes! They love fabrics, textures, embroidery, elegance, lines, shape, drape and color. And they are at the peak of their wealth and income—right now. They want to buy clothes. And it appears that very few of you want to sell to them.

There are a few exceptions. Chico’s, of course—which is a phenomenally successful brand. Coldwater Creek, whose customers send them glowing fan mail. Nordstrom definitely, because they always “get” what’s going on with women. L.L. Bean, because they are one of the most “authentic” companies out there. But beyond those? Hmmm…

I have a dear friend who works for a major department store chain. A huge part of their business is women’s apparel. I was talking with him about this size 14 thing, and he said, “Yeah, Marti, we tried that, but the problem was, with larger models, it’s hard to make the merchandise look as good.” Well, there’s your problem right there! It’s not about the models making the merchandise look good. It’s about the merchandise making the models look good.

Here’s a secret that will make you a million dollars: to make Boomer women love your clothes, you need to make clothes that love Boomer women. It’s that simple.

Marketing Fashion to Boomer Women

I have a “blast from the past” story to illustrate my point.

About 20 years ago, a woman I know who’s a little on the heavy side was shopping in the New York garment district and happened upon a store with gorgeous Joan Vass cotton knit skirts and sweaters. They felt like cashmere, and they even came in her size. Of course, she would never buy knits because when you’re on the heavy side, the last thing you want is fabric that clings to your bumps and bulges. A saleswoman invited her to try on something, and she declined, telling her why. “Nonsense,” said the saleswoman, “That’s because you don’t know how to wear knits.”

They went into the dressing room and the saleswoman showed her how to wear the sweaters bloused up to give them drape, instead of pulled down over the hips; how shoulder pads and pushing up the sleeves to just below the elbow raise the visual center of gravity, guided her away from mid-calf skirts and sold her on the knee-length (contrary to contemporary conventional wisdom), because she had slim, shapely legs.

In other words, the saleswoman didn’t focus on the clothes. She focused on the woman who would be wearing them. She provided useful information and helped her feel good about herself. This woman walked out of there with three garment bags stuffed with outfits, and for years, wore Joan Vass for work, socializing and special occasions. Later she said to me, “That advice made all the difference in the world. Why didn’t I know this stuff before? Where the hell is the fashion industry?”

Boomer women want a different product than their younger cohorts do. She wants fashion that flatters the figure she has, not the figure fashion designers wish she had. She knows mini-skirts may not make her look her best, but cropped pants and capris can cover many flaws and still show a shapely ankle. She isn’t looking for bustiers or jeggings. She knows princess seams, a deep V-neck, three-quarter length sleeves and a little light shoulder padding can slenderize her waist and pull the center of gravity up off her hips. And tiny dressing rooms cramp her style, literally.

Boomer women have a passion for fashion. They want to look fabulous, and your job is to help them. They want to give you their money. Where are you?