Commentary

Are You Ready To Be Dumped?

When marketers are asked how they keep Boomers engaged, those who don’t ignore them usually admit they take them for granted. 

If you are one of these marketers, you should get ready to be dumped.

Recent research from global PR/communications firm Ketchum reminds us that consumers 50+ (and especially women) are suddenly ready for change in all aspects of their lives. And that does mean all aspects. As Ketchum neatly summarizes: “For spouses who haven't been pulling their weight, friends who are high on drama, and brands that are just force-of-habit, it could mean getting left behind.” 

Change Means Change 

I’ve written here before about targeting consumers at the moments when their lives change most, and Ketchum confirms that somewhere around age 50, women feel their lives changing more than ever before. Says Karen Strauss, Ketchum’s chief strategy and creative officer, many “women coming out of their 40s, the so-called ‘rush hour’ decade ... have a breakthrough moment around age 50.” 

When we go through most big life changes (going to college, getting married, having children) we change lots of things about our lives, from friends to shopping patterns to brands. Yet marketers (like old friends and spouses) have too often thought that the breakthrough changes around 50 would not be accompanied by other big changes in the lives of midlife consumers.

It’s time for them to think again.

Ketchum’s “ReMovement” Study confirms that midlife represents a time to shed the old and try the new:

  • 53% of Ketchum’s respondents (all U.S. women 50+) said they are in relationships that have run their course or lost relevance
  • 89% are open to trying new brands
  • Only 45% belong to a brand loyalty program today and almost one-third are “always” on the lookout for new brands to try

This is consistent with what I’ve seen in our work. The physical and psychological changes of midlife lead women to look for new consumer relationships of all kinds, from moisturizers to blue jeans to cars. At the same time they are asking how to remake their personal connections too: how to dump a toxic peer, how to find friends who share their current interests, and whether to remain in longstanding but loveless marriages.

Change Can Make Us Happy 

Readiness for change does not mean that a Boomer is dissatisfied or lonely. Ketchum’s research also confirms that consumers at age 50 may be happier than ever. Respondents said that each passing decade after 50 is better than the one before — even if their lives are quieter: 92% are satisfied with the time they spend alone.

No longer dependent on relationships or brands that don’t meet their needs, these consumers are looking for partners who will join and support them in the next stage of life. Ketchum itself takes this risk — and opportunity — seriously enough that it has launched its own Ketchum 50+ division

Based on its research, here’s what Ketchum advises:

  • Reintroduce yourself — explain why you’re the right brand for her now.
  • Acknowledge that she’s changing relationships — you might get to be her new best friend.
  • Honor (and ask to join her on) the "U-curve" of happiness — these might be the best years of her life.

Are you following this advice for the Boomers your brand depends on? 

Or are you assuming she doesn’t have the guts to break up?

You might be surprised.

1 comment about "Are You Ready To Be Dumped?".
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  1. Stephen Reily from IMC/Vibrant Nation, April 17, 2015 at 5:44 a.m.

    You are so right - about travel, too.  Our Vibrant Nation research showed that women are making  travel (destination and spending) decisions by themselves - even for trips where they are bringing their husbands along.  Thanks!

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