As the new edition of my book Marketing to PrimeTime Women comes out, some have asked me why I refer to Boomer women as “PrimeTime.” And the reason is that our vocabulary was stunted.
People have been at a loss to describe “consumers over age 50” in ways that don’t conjure up negative associations. Terms like middle-aged, mature market and senior market come freighted with unappealing overtones. Middle-aged calls up images of dowdy, lumpy frumpiness. Mature suggests someone who is serious, sober, sedate and stately- in other words, no fun. And while being a senior in high school or college is a status that underclassmen aspire to, perversely, senior citizen in the context of older consumers connotes a nominal acknowledgement to the tottering old dears, a condescending head nod, a senior discount- gee, thanks.
People say Boomers are resisting growing older. That’s not it at all- in fact it completely misses the point. Boomers, particularly women, are fine with growing older.
What they’re resisting is being labeled with language loaded with the patronizing images and attitudes above- frumpy, sedate, tottering. It’s not how they feel; it’s truly not who they are, and they’re not inclined to put up with anyone implying otherwise. What they’re resisting is being talked down to.
Unfortunately, so far, these words are all we’ve had to work with. We needed some new lingo, words that tell it like it really is; words that capture a personality that is positive, dynamic and savvy– in short, words that make a woman feel good about saying, “Yup, that’s me!”
So I coined the phrase PrimeTime Women. These are women 50-70 years old. I like how it connotes vitality and primacy, which aptly describe this group on not one, but two levels:
- They are in the prime of their lives. It comes as a surprise to most pre-Primers that people in their 50s and 60s report these two decades are the happiest of their lives, and women experience this phase even more positively than men do.
- They are the prime target opportunity for marketers in almost every category, because they handle 80-85% of the spending decisions for households in the peak years of their income, wealth and spending power.