Jennifer Lopez is about to join the growing list of celebrities who are boldly redefining what 50 -- and relationships after 50 -- look like. Case in point: her engagement to former baseball star Alex Rodriguez.
This pop culture moment is a reminder that turning 50 brings more new beginnings than ever before. It’s an opportunity to look at the ways boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1979) think about relationships, which can lead to intriguing and valuable marketing insights.
As you seek stronger ties with consumers in these demographic groups, here are three considerations to keep in mind based on new AARP research on dating and relationships.
1) Consumers want more than a superficial relationship with your brand. According to AARP, more than three-quarters of single Gen-Xers (78%) and nearly two-thirds of boomers (62%) are open to dating -- yet most aren’t doing so at the moment. As a female Gen-Xer in the AARP survey explained: “With so many people dating online... the relationships seem more superficial.”
It’s the same way with consumers and brands. Technology makes it easier to connect (J-Lo and A-Rod followed each other on social media long before she told him to call her), but in marketing as in life, connections aren’t the same as relationships. You can’t just form a passive bond with consumers and expect the sparks to fly. You need to start a real conversation and keep it going.
2) Brand values are increasingly important. Boomers and Gen-Xers are interested in more than appearances. They care about the kind of person someone is, their values and priorities. Perhaps that’s why the idea of the ideal first date hasn’t changed much for either group.
For boomers, the best way to get to know someone new is the traditional dinner, lunch or coffee. Gen-Xers are likely to opt for a unique shared experience. We have no idea what J-Lo and A-Rod talked about on their first date, but any celebrity watcher will tell you they have a lot in common.
Consumers want a foundational sense of what your brand stands for -- your purpose and values -- what matters to you, and why you believe it’s relevant for them.
3) Think long-term. Boomers and Gen-Xers are interested in longer-term relationships. Their time is valuable. More than one-third of boomers (36%) are looking for companionship, while Gen-Xers have marriage (34%) on their minds.
Do you need to treat every customer relationship like a celebrity engagement? Maybe not, but you must show you’re committed -- not just to closing the deal, but to being there and meeting their needs over time. Demonstrate your partnership and let them know you’re in it for the long run.
Boomers and Gen-Xers have always wanted more out of life -- and this attitude is essential for marketers to keep in mind. Despite our “swipe left/swipe right” world, Boomers and Gen-Xers are looking for relationships that are richer, more authentic, more meaningful and more enduring.
Marketers win by steering clear of small talk and superficial transactions. Deeper communication, giving others a sense of who we are and what we stand for and creating unique shared experiences. These are the necessary steps for growing strong relationships. Then your brand can live happily ever after!